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Linda F. Jones, DDS
Gum Disease, Diabetes, and Heart Disease -" Are They Related?
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
. http://drlindajonesdds.com

Gum Disease, Diabetes, and Heart Disease -" Are They Related?

What is Gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection in your gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, the sticky colorless film that forms on your teeth daily. If not removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the bacteria can infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
There are three stages of gum disease I call them, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The Good Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. You may notice red inflamed gums caused by plaque buildup. You may notice “Pink-in-the-sink” caused by bleeding during brushing and flossing. Because at this stage the damage is the easiest to reverse, I call this the good.
The Bad Periodontitis. At this stage the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place begin to loosen and form pockets below the gum line. Pockets are spaces between the tooth and the gum which trap food, bacteria and plaque. Proper dental treatments and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage. Because at this stage the damage is irreversible, I call this the bad.
The Ugly Advanced Periodontal Disease. This is the final stage of gum disease. The fibers and bone supporting your teeth have been destroyed. This causes your teeth to shift, loosen and fall out. Without aggressive treatment many of your teeth may need to be removed. Because at this stage the damage is so severe and destructive, I call this the ugly.
How is gum disease treated?

See your dentist for regular dental check ups at least twice every year for early diagnosis and treatment. Good oral health habits can minimize bacterial infections and damage to your gums and teeth.

Various types of periodontal cleanings and gum treatments may be necessary to gain control of periodontal disease. These cleanings and treatments by a dentist or hygienist are the only safe way to remove the plaque buildup that has hardened into tartar on your teeth and control the infection in the gums.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

There is a link between gum disease and diabetes. Millions of people of all ages have diabetes. People with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease when there blood glucose levels are poorly controlled. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise and make diabetes harder to control.
People with diabetes have special dental needs and your dentist is equipped to meet those needs with your help. Keep your dentist informed of any changes in your condition and medications.

Heart Disease and Gum Disease

Chronic gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death in both men and women. One theory is that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels. This condition can cause blood clots and may lead to heart attacks. Be sure to tell your dentist if you have a heart condition, and what, if any, mediations you are taking.

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