Category: Spring 2010
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Get the facts about gum disease to save your teeth, protect health
March 10, 2010
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. It begins when bacteria in plaque (a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes gums to become inflamed.
On its Website, www.perio.org, The American Academy of Periodontology clears up some incorrect beliefs about gum disease:
Fallacy: Tooth loss is a natural part of aging.
Fact: With good oral hygiene and regular professional care, teeth can last a lifetime. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss> it's the primary cause of tooth loss in adults ages 35 and over.
Fallacy: disease doesn't affect overall health.
Fact: Research links periodontal disease to health problems that include heart and respiratory diseases; preterm, low birth-weight babies; stroke; osteoporosis; and diabetes.
Fallacy: Gum disease is a minor infection.
Fact: Gum disease is not a small infection. Its result, tooth loss, can lead to dentures, causing dramatic changes in your appearance, breath, and ability to chew food.
Fallacy: Bleeding gums are normal.
Fact: Bleeding gums are one of nine warning signs of gum disease. Other signs: red, swollen or tender gums; sores in your mouth; gums that have pulled away from the teeth; persistent bad breath; pus between the teeth and gums (leaving bad breath); loose or separating teeth; a change in the way the teeth fit together; and a change in the fit of partial dentures.
Fallacy: Treatment for gum disease is painful.
Fact: Procedures including local anesthesia and over-the-counter medications can keep you comfortable during treatment.
Fallacy: Cavities are the No. 1 cause of tooth loss.
Fact: Periodontal disease is No. 1.
Fallacy: Pregnant women should skip dental checkups.
Fact: Pregnancy impacts teeth and gums just like other tissues in the body. Pregnant women should schedule an appointment for a periodontal evaluation to decrease the risk of damaging the gums and tissues around their teeth.