Dental Hygiene – why it’s more important than ever
We all know we should brush and floss regularly to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
What you may not know however, is that recent studies have linked periodontal disease with an elevated risk of cognitive decline and cardiovascular disease, creating even more reason to maintain good dental hygiene.
Researchers have discovered that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease, and that those who have had the disease for 10 or more years are 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimers.
Periodontitis is a preventable and treatable disease, however, advanced or chronic cases can be associated with tooth loss, gum infection and systemic inflammation. Inflammation is caused by bacteria which inhabits infected gum tissue and can enter the bloodstream via normal brushing or chewing and move to other parts of the circulatory system. Oral bacteria has been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis (arterial plaque build-up) which we know can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Effective dental hygiene and gum treatment can reduce the levels of these bacterial molecules and inflammation. Periodontal patients in particular should be aware of the potential risks of gum infection and the impact the disease can have on the rest of the body.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Redness, swelling, or tenderness of the mouth/gums
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating some foods
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Signs of infection such as pus between the gums and teeth
- Sores in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way the teeth fit together
Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. Take care of your teeth and gums and prevent disease by:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Replacing your toothbrush every three months
- Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleaning
If you have concerns about the health of your teeth and gums, make an appointment for a checkup soon.