Recent medical research has caused many doctors to reach a startling conclusion: gum disease and heart disease are linked. Since heart disease is usually fatal, it is clear that gum disease can actually kill you.
The American Dental Association estimates that 8 out of 10 Americans have periodontal (gum) disease. If this were any other affliction, such as AIDS or tuberculosis, it would be considered epidemic! Most dentists think it is just that.
They also knew that gum disease would never be labeled epidemic because, “no one ever dies from it.” The worst is that you lose your teeth. Not pleasant -but certainly not life threatening.
But that’s all changed.
The American Academy of Periodontology reports: “studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.”
Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial infection of the gums. These bacteria can travel into the bloodstream – straight to the heart.
Another Problem: Gum and Bone Disease that goes Undetected – Solution: Promote health through awareness
Prevention is an overused word in our vocabulary, but we all know it works.
You see it in what you do every day. Who wouldn’t rather prevent a crisis than manage one?
Awareness of gum and underlying bone disease is very low. Only 50% of the population visits a dentist on a regular basis. Of that 50%, 80% have some degree of gum and bone disease. It is an epidemic. Were this any other disease, we would be calling on the CDC for immediate action!
Now the Good News
With advanced periodontal disease, the treatment is surgical. Gum surgery is never fun, but it is almost always successful in controlling the condition, and it’s usually covered by common insurance plans.
With mild periodontal disease, there are very effective NON-surgical procedures which, coupled with improved dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental insurance plans.
If you haven’t yet contracted periodontal disease, I suggest breaking out the floss right now at least once a day, along with regular professional cleanings and twice-a-day brushings. Routine brushing should seem more purposeful now, more a part of your general health care, and not just something you do to prevent cavities.
Why do you need to have regular dental care check-ups?
Regular check-ups are needed to monitor your overall dental health. In addition to checking for cavities, Dr. Ushma Patel examines the health of your entire mouth and surrounding soft tissues, checking for pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, oral sores and gum disease.
Your oral health is connected with your general health. Dental care check-ups can alert the dentist to other medical conditions that have symptoms in the mouth such as diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal irregularities. Regular dental visits are vital to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions affecting your mouth. Also at your regular dental check up you will be able to get your teeth cleaned.
Healthy Gums … Healthy Hearts
Scientists at the University of Georgia have discovered that an enzyme in a common bacterium is capable of activating blood-clotting in the human body. This is the first reported evidence of such an effect and may help explain the link between periodontal infection and heart disease. A number of other studies have shown this.
Periodontal disease is usually a painless condition whose only signs may be red or bleeding gums. In early stages, regular brushing and flossing and preventive visits to our office will remove the bacteria and prevent the problems that gum disease can cause.
Now we can tell you that taking good care of your teeth and gums could have positive effects on other parts of your body
For more information contact Dr. Ushma. Patel at (770) 623-8750 or visit www.hitechsmiles.com
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