"KILLER DISEASE SWEEPS PLANET!" If you saw this unforgivable headline in your local paper, would you be alarmed? Would you read the article to discover the "what, who, where, and why" about this dreadful killer disease? Or simply run naked and screaming into the streets to warn all the neighbors?
Recent studies indicate that as many as four out of five people suffer from some form of gum disease. While many have only early forms such as gingivitis, a reliably mild infection of the gums, almost half have that infection of insidious older brother, periodontitis, which also attacks the bone that forms the very foundation for your teeth. Gum disease, technically known as periodontal (around the teeth) disease, puts your very teeth squarely at risk. Sufficiently advanced, it will cause them to become loose, or even to fall out altogether. This disease, and not dental caries or tooth decay, is responsible for sixty percent of lost adult teeth.
Ask anyone who's ever had it happened to her: Tooth loss definitely impacts your quality of life. For example, I once had a patient who was literally terrified that if she either sneezed or taken, her dentures would have propelled out of her mouth and go flying across the room! Needless to say, that consciousness affected her every social activity. As you may imagine, our mouths are a primary part of our presentation to the world – and they can definitely be hard to hide! The ravages of this insidious bacterial infection adversely affect more than just your smile itself, but also your very self-image and self-worth.
Yet this is not, arguably, the most important part of the story. Gum disease is linked with a number of life-threatening illnesses that include stroke, heart attack, ulcers, diabetes, respiratory disease, low birth weight and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Recent studies have found that:
o There can be up to three times a greater risk of stroke and heart attack for people with severe periodontal disease
o Oral bacteria has been found to be responsible for fifty-five percent of cases of infectious edema
o Pregnant women with periodontal disease are eight times more likely to have pre-term, low birth weight babies.
"Not me," I can almost hear you say. "I brush twice a day, floss regularly, and go to the dentist and have my teeth cleaned twice a year. My mouth is just fine." Maybe, maybe not … More often than not, periodontal disease has no obvious symptoms. And even when they do occur, some symptoms, such as blood on your toothbrush, are even considered usual. However, contrary to what you may have learned, or thought you learned, boring when you brush is definitely NOT okay.
To begin the delicate task of discovering whether or not you may have gum disease, here are seven signs to look for in your mouth:
1. Do your gums bleed when you brush?
2. Are your gums red, swollen, or tender?
3. Have your gums taken away from your teeth?
4. Do you suffer from persistent bad breath?
5. Do you see pus between your teeth and gums?
6. Are your teeth loose?
7. Have you noticed a change in your bite (the way your teeth come together)?
What can you do if you have gum disease? First, consult your dentist. If he suggests a radical dose of home and health care, immediately immediately! If he immediately recommends periodontal surgery, run, do not walk, to get a second opinion!
Source by Sheila Wolf