The Basics of Gum Disease

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Did you know that if you do not treat your gum disease, the problems can reach much farther than just your mouth and teeth? For example, if you inhale the bacteria from gum disease for a long period of time, you could develop a respiratory infection. If that bacteria should find its way into your bloodstream, your arteries could harden and plaque can form on walls of your arteries. In addition, the walls of your heart valves could swell. These conditions will increase your chances of a stroke or a heart attack. If you suffer from diabetes, gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar, and can make your symptoms worse. And, if the bacteria should infect your nervous system, the result could be dementia.

In its early stages, gum disease is often painless. So how do you know if you have gum disease? Healthy gums are pink, while gum disease will turn your gums red, or even blue. You may experience swollen gums, chronic bad breath, receding gums, and find blood after you brush and floss. Your teeth may become loose and drift out of alignment.

Gum disease can be caused by a number of things, including hormonal changes and tobacco use, but the primary cause is an accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. The plaque causes your gums to swell, which allows the plaque to work its way below the gumline. That permits bacteria to enter your body and cause an infection.

To prevent gum disease, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. You should also see your dentist every six months for your routine cleaning and exam. This will give your dentist an opportunity to clean the plaque from your teeth that you may have missed while brushing, and check your mouth for the signs of gum disease. If gum disease is a concern for you, or if it is just time for your regular appointment, our dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Neal will be happy to see you. If you would like to make an appointment at Who Does Your Teeth in Henrico, Virginia, call 804-447-1435 today. Let’s get you started on your way to a healthy smile!