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How to Safely Prevent and Stop “Very Dangerous” Gum Disease


Fear of developing gum disease is a very realistic concern for many who are well informed. Unfortunately most people aren’t well informed!

Gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over 35, is extremely common. About 80 percent of U.S. adults have it in some form, but millions do not recognize the symptoms.

healthy teeth

Your oral tissue is equivalent in mass to the skin on your arm from wrist to elbow. When tissue of that mass becomes infected, as it does during gum disease, it’s a serious health risk.

Untreated gum disease is the worst kind, as it can progress to impact not only your gums, teeth, and mouth, but your entire body as well.

Why Untreated Gum Disease is So Dangerous

Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that impacts your gums and the bone surrounding your teeth. It’s caused by plaque on your teeth, which lead to gum inflammation.

In its mildest form, gum disease is called gingivitis. Often due to poor oral hygiene, gingivitis causes your gums to become red and swollen, and bleed easily. If left untreated, gingivitis may progress into periodontitis, in which plaque begins to grow below your gum line.

The bacteria and the toxins they produce lead to chronic inflammation that can destroy your gums and bone supporting your teeth. This leads to teeth separating from the gums, forming infected pockets that can result in teeth loss and, as the disease progresses, heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

Gum Disease Warning Signs: Who’s Most at Risk?

Gum disease can impact anyone, especially if you’re lax about seeing your dentist to regularly remove tartar (hardened plaque) from your teeth. However, there are some risk factors that can increase your likelihood of this disease:

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Certain medications that reduce the flow of saliva

  • Illnesses such as cancer or aids

  • Hormonal changes in women (pregnancy)

Men are more likely to have gum disease than women, and it’s also possible to have a genetic tendency toward the disease. Up to 30 percent of Americans may be genetically predisposed to severe gum disease, and may be six times more likely to develop gum disease, even with proper oral care.

It’s also possible to pass the bacteria that cause gum disease through your saliva, which means the disease may be transmittable among couples and family members that share food, utensils, etc. If your spouse or a close family member has gum disease, it’s therefore a good idea for you to get checked out as well plus inform other family members when diagnosed with gum disease to assure they too are aware not to drink or eat from the same food or utensils.

Keep in mind, too, that gum disease, especially in the beginning stages when it’s most easily treated and reversed, is not always obvious. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), some warning signs include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food

  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before

  • Loose or separating teeth

  • Pus between your gums and teeth

  • Sores in your mouth

  • Persistent bad breath

  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Gum Disease Linked to Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes

brush teeth gums

You guessed it: brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily are the essentials to keeping gum disease at bay. But there are other important tips, too, which you can find out below.

If the prospect of losing your teeth isn’t enough to make you take gum disease seriously, the damage it can pose to your overall health may be.

New research published in the BMJ found that people who don’t brush their teeth regularly have an increased risk of heart disease. Among those who “rarely or never” brushed their teeth, the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other event was 70 percent higher than those who brushed twice daily.

The rare brushers also had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and a potent indicator of heart disease.

People with gum disease are actually nearly twice as likely to have heart disease, according to AAP. Gingivitis, cavities and missing teeth are also associated with heart disease, and can predict heart disease risk as well as cholesterol levels.

In fact, when your gums become diseased, they release toxic bacteria into your bloodstream, which promote inflammation and negatively impact your heart and other organs.

Further, gum disease is often considered the “sixth complication” of diabetes because people with diabetes are significantly more likely to have periodontal disease.

Not only does having diabetes increase the risk of gum disease, but gum disease in turn increases blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes complications, according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology. The finding underscores the importance of healthy teeth and gums for staying healthy and avoiding diabetes -- and heart-related -- complications.

Simple Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Gingivitis can often be treated and reversed through proper dental cleanings and attention to oral hygiene. Even more advanced gum disease can often be treated with deep cleaning of your root surfaces below the gum line, known as scaling and root planning, provided proper oral hygiene practices are maintained. In severe cases, however, surgery will be required and your best bet is to avoid and prevent gum disease entirely in the first place.

Brushing and flossing are the basics to keep your teeth healthy. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily for best results. You should also visit your dentist regularly -- at least once every 6 months -- to have your teeth professionally cleaned and get an oral health check-up.

Using a tongue scraper twice a day is an easy way to reduce or eliminate bad breath, and some experts believe it may also help to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Even better and possibly much easier, you can use a hospital-grade PerfectClean microfiber hand wipe to wipe your tongue -- on the top and underneath, plus along both sides of your gum line -- to remove bacteria in areas a tongue scraper can never reach.

Bad Breath Freshener: Easy, Quick and Effective

PerfectClean antimicrobial microfiber hand wipes for use for your tongue, gums and teeth are also easy to carry with you and use before meeting and having conversations with friends or business acquaintances when you want to assure you are not pushing people away due to bad breath you can't smell.

The Major Healthy Teeth Cleaning Natural Toolset You May be Missing …

Beyond these basics, your teeth will only flourish if eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet will support your oral hygiene routine, making your teeth and gums strong and healthy.

Specifically, cheese, lean protein (chicken, grass-fed beef, etc.), nuts, plain yogurt and other dairy products provide calcium and phosphorous to “remineralize” teeth, a process during which minerals are put back onto teeth enamel after acids remove them.

Firm and crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, celery and pears, which have a high water content, stimulate the flow of saliva (useful for protecting against tooth decay and acid) and dilutes the effects of sugars, making them especially beneficial for oral health. For simple raw food recipes featuring these teeth-friendly ingredients, check out the recipe book Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 Minutes.

If you eat an unbalanced, highly processed or fast-food diet, meanwhile, it will be impossible for your immune system to function at its best, and studies show that people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of gum disease, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Likewise, poor diet also increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes, which both in turn are linked to gum disease and other oral health problems.

Sugar and starches (bread, crackers, cereal) are particularly problematic when they’re left on your teeth after a snack of meal. Sugar feed bacteria in your mouth, while both starches and sugar produce acid in your mouth that can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Anytime you eat a sugary, starchy food, you should brush your teeth afterward to remove the damaging substances from your mouth.

Be especially diligent to not go to sleep after eating a sugar or starchy snack, as they will linger on your teeth, causing damage until your morning brushing. Be sure to also avoid giving toddlers a bottle of juice or milk (which contains natural sugars) to sip on for long periods, or right before bed, without brushing their teeth afterward.

Remember, gum disease is a serious illness and one that should not be taken lightly. If you have any of the gum disease warning signs mentioned above, be sure to see your dentist to have your oral health assessed by making an appointment today.

SixWise Ways!
SixWise Says ...

Teeth are not designed to self-repair, so once they become decayed or your gums are damaged, it’s difficult if not impossible to bring a tooth back to life, so to speak. So be sure to take steps now to protect your oral health and keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.

Recommended Reading

New Study: Why Green Tea Strengthens Your Teeth … "Got Green Tea?"

What Your Tongue Says about Your Health: Nine "Tongue Signs" to Watch Out For

Sources February 7, 2002 Gum Disease and Diabetes October 13, 1997 Fallacies About Gum Disease

MedlinePlus Gum Disease

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

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