Maintaining or Renewing a Healthy Smile
The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth
Many people assume that tooth loss is due to decay. It’s not. It’s because of gum disease. And it can be completely unnoticeable right up until you lose your teeth. Symptoms include bleeding gums when you brush or floss and loose or shifting teeth. If you’ve been told you need gum surgery, you will be glad to know that it’s possible to control gum disease with a variety of non-surgical methods.
Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease and Even Stroke
Recent medical research has caused many doctors to reach a startling conclusion: gum disease, stroke, and heart disease are linked. Since heart disease is usually fatal, it is clear that gum disease is a serious matter. 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 an 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.
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 that, coupled with improved dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental insurance plans.