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Gum Disease

Dealing With The Problem No One Wants To Talk About

Gum disease isn’t exactly something that most people bring up in casual conversation. Somehow, it seems embarrassing, because most people believe it’s caused by not brushing and flossing … and they would be right. However, that’s not the only cause, and people wind up with gum disease even when they do brush regularly. Gum disease is also caused by some medications, hormonal changes, illnesses, even family heredity. It’s a relatively common problem that can certainly be treated. The earlier you get treatment the easier it is to control, so let’s get serious about how to identify and treat it.

Gum disease is also called periodontal disease and it happens when plaque on the teeth builds up and the gums become infected. A key symptom of early gum disease is gum irritation and bleeding when you brush. This early disease is usually referred to as gingivitis – something you’ve probably heard about in mouth wash ads on television.

If left untreated, however, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. When this happens, the gums pull away from the teeth and food particles can become trapped between the teeth and the gums, which lead to more infection. The infection can build up toxins in the blood and cause destruction of the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place, as well as the jawbone. When that happens, teeth become loose and could even fall out.

So, what do you do about it? Here are some tips.

1. Brush and floss daily. Try brushing for 2 minutes … you can watch the news or plan your day … so you don’t leave any plaque behind that can build up and cause a gum infection.

2. Pay attention to symptoms. If you notice any symptoms, such as bleeding when you brush, receding or sensitive gums, or loose teeth, get to the dentist right away so it can be treated.

3. Have regular dental checkups, so a dental professional can monitor the health of your gums.

4. Stop smoking. Smokers are seven times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers.

5. Reduce stress. Since infections can contribute to the development of gum disease and stress makes it hard for your body to fight infection, try to reduce your stress with exercise, yoga or meditation.

6. Support your immune system (to fight infection) by eating a balanced diet rich in anti-oxidants, such as those with vitamins C and E.

Even though gum disease isn’t something anyone particularly wants to talk about, it’s surely something we should all be aware of and watch out for.

It’s really up to you … and mums the word.

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