Healthy Gums, Healthy You

Women are at higher risk for gum disease than men...

Fighting periodontal (gum) disease through meticulous daily hygiene and regular dental appointments is brilliant. You preserve your beautiful smile and sweet breath, maintain the health of your teeth and gums, and protect your overall health in the bargain!

Periodontal disease—a chronic inflammatory disease that can destroy gum tissue, ligaments, even the bone supporting the teeth—is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults. Gum disease has been associated with such chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

People with higher blood levels of certain disease-causing bacteria in the mouth are more likely to have high levels of plaque (atherosclerosis) in the carotid artery in the neck. Clogging of the carotid arteries can lead to stroke.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums has become more important than ever. Daily tooth brushing and flossing can help you avoid heart attack and stroke, but they are not an acceptable substitute for the important annual periodontal evaluation.

CONFIDENTIAL TO WOMEN: If you’re a woman, you’re at higher risk for gum disease than the ordinary guy on the street. Women of all ages are prone to changing levels of progesterone. And progesterone—especially when you are pregnant or taking oral contraceptives—causes some bacteria to mushroom. Unfortunately, the bacteria associated with gum disease are among them. It’s not fair, but it’s true. Recent studies have also linked gum disease to infertility.

Plaque & Plaque

The dental plaque your hygienist scrapes off your teeth is different from the plaque in your  arteries. Dental plaque is a sticky residue of bacteria and food particles that can irritate your gums and eat away at tooth enamel. Arterial plaque, a characteristic of atherosclerosis, is a fatty deposit in the artery. Both forms of plaque are to be avoided.

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