Gum disease is a little like high blood pressure: most of the time it is “out of sight, out of mind”. The early warning signs are easy to ignore. Often patients delay seeing us until they experience the following symptoms:
· Bleeding gums
· Gum recession
· Loosening of teeth
· Bad breath
I hear patients say all the time, “My gums have always bled.” Let me be clear on this: Healthy gums do not bleed! (If your nail beds bled after washing your hands you would have no doubt that something was wrong. Same with your gums.) Just like with high blood pressure, the best time to treat this is not after your heart attack. If your gums bleed this indicates an infection that, left untreated, can lead to permanent tooth loss. But even more importantly, there is a growing body of evidence pointing to a link between gum (periodontal) disease and cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis (vascular disease), etc.
Periodontal (gum) disease is caused mostly by poor oral hygiene. A new study from Scotland (reported in the British Medical Journal and Nature Reviews in Cardiology) shows that tooth brushing less than once daily can incur a 70% increased risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events compared with brushing twice a day. The connection could be from the increased bacterial load from the chronic infection causing frequent bacteremias (bacteria in the bloodstream) simply by chewing, for instance. Or it may be from the well documented relationship between chronic inflammation in our bodies and cardiovascular disease. We tend to ignore inflammation in our mouths more than, say, on our hands or feet.
At our office, we emphasize health, wellness and prevention. We will examine, treat and carefully monitor the health of your gums. You will always be given the finest in oral care to prevent or treat periodontal disease. Contact me or my staff at 248-356-8790 for a gum examination. The call may not just save your teeth, it just may add years to your life!
Until next time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD