Your Information – Life Savers
perhaps the most dramatic dental-health discovery of the last decade,
researchers now have evidence that caring for your gums and teeth can not only
save your smile, it may save your life. Many
studies have shown that when gum disease is present, the threat of heart disease
goes up. Researchers believe that
bacteria from diseased gums may spread through the bloodstream, inviting not
only heart disease but stroke.
dentists check for “pockets” in people’s gums, they’re looking to see
whether the gums have separated from the teeth.
This is caused by an infection that attacks the ligaments and bones that
hold your teeth in place. The
danger signs for this periodontitis are pockets that measure 4mm or deeper and
are a bit swollen and tender. At
this point, simply brushing and flossing will not solve the problem.
The infection needs to be treated below the gum line with what is called
root planing and scaling. This gets
the bacteria out of the pockets and off exposed roots.
If the infection continues to hang on, then periodontal surgery may be
the next decade or so, a vaccine may make today’s gum treatments obsolete.
Doctors at the University of Washington in Seattle have spent 15 years
developing a vaccine against gum-attacking bacteria.
Meanwhile, a study of nearly 15,000 Americans ages 15 to 74 has found that 95 percent of those who have good oral hygiene don’t have periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene involves brushing and flossing and getting professional cleanings twice a year. A simple cleaning removes plaque, tartar and keeps any pockets from deepening. Your gums and teeth should last a lifetime. If you give them good care, they probably will.