We are often surprised that our patients think that bleeding gums and pain while flossing is normal. In fact, both are signs of a common condition called periodontal disease. Nearly half of all Americans suffer from periodontal disease, a serious condition that can cause tooth loss, complications with systemic illnesses, and bad breath. Additionally, the bacteria that cause gum disease can pass from person to person, which is why many families suffer from gum disease. Encouraging your family members to seek treatment can protect their health as well as your own.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a completely preventable condition. The most common cause is neglect from failure to brush, floss, and have regular dental cleanings, though sometimes genetics, lifestyle factors, and medical conditions can also contribute. In its early stages, gum disease, called gingivitis, is often reversible. In fact, you can sometimes get back on track with nothing more than improved home care and a thorough dental cleaning - that is why you would benefit from seeking treatment the moment your symptoms start.
You may not know the facts about gums disease, however. Increased numbers of the bacteria that cause gum disease can affect your heart’s health. People with high levels of these bacteria often have a greater instance of coronary artery disease, putting them at risk of stroke and sudden heart attacks. While the relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease requires more research, the connection is clear and researchers believe it might be because chronic infections in your body cause inflammation.
Links also exist with other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, respiratory illnesses and the latest discovery links gum disease to breast cancer.
By protecting your oral health with regular home care and professional dental cleanings, you are protecting the health of the rest of your body.
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