Periodontal Health Effects
Research has shown that gum disease can influence heart disease and other health conditions in negative ways. They suggest that gum disease could even be a more serious factor in heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, hypertension or age. One reason for this is the fact that the bacteria found in diseased gums can come loose and move throughout the body. When this bacteria reaches arteries, it can cause arterial plaque to build up and harden which in return adversely affects blood flow.
Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up from bacteria in the mouth and particles from the foods you eat every day.
Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth producing cavities and the plaque can cause gum disease.
Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis, and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis develops as toxins, enzymes and other plaque byproducts by irritating the gums, making them tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily. Gingivitis generally can be stopped with proper oral hygiene and minor treatment from your dentist. If this is achieved, your gums can return to a healthy state.
Moderate gum disease is when the tooth's bone tissue starts to deteriorate. Periodontitis occurs when plaque byproducts destroy the tissues that anchor your teeth in the bone. The gums deteriorate and begin detaching themselves from the teeth forming gum pockets, which allows more plaque to collect below the gum line. This causes the roots of the teeth to become susceptible to decay. Generally, patients notice an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold and to touch.
Advanced periodontitis occurs when a major amount of gum and bone tissue has been lost and the teeth are losing more and more support due to the loss of periodontal ligament and bone. Some teeth are unable to be saved and must be extracted. If left untreated, advanced periodontitis can cause severe health problems elsewhere in the body.
Periodontal Tooth Brushing Tips
Tip #1: The toothbrush is the single most effective tooth cleaning weapon that you have in your arsenal for germ warfare!
Tip #2: Germs are very little, so use the smallest bristles you can find (usually a nylon brush rated as 'Soft').
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Move the brush any way that is easy for you. Use heavy pressure, putting the bristles between the teeth and gums (that's where the germs are hiding!). Don't worry, you cannot cause damage to your gums or teeth with a soft nylon brush. If you notice that the gums are bleeding, it means that the gums were infected and ulcerated. The only way to get rid of that is to get rid of the germs!
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically.
Notice that toothpaste was not mentioned? That's because it is not needed to remove germs from your teeth!