Preventative Dental Care- Eliminate The Link Between Gum Disease And Poor Health

By: Gen Wright

Natural teeth and teeth with restorations survive best in an oral environment that is clean with a controlled intake of harmful foods. With proper preventative care - at home and in your dentist's office - you can help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored and manage gum disease (periodontal disease). Preventing gum disease and tooth decay can help keep you from spending more money and time later on to correct any problems that may arise from these very preventable problems. The first step to having healthy teeth and gums is prevention. A healthy mouth can help you live longer and avoid serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, poor blood sugar control, headaches, jaw pain, and bad breath.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding a tooth, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. Once gum disease sets in, the toxins that are produced by the bacteria damage your teeth's connective tissue and bone. This can eventually destroy them and bring forth tooth loss.

There are a number of causes of gum disease which can be corrected and controlled. The obvious cause of gum disease is improper dental hygiene. If plaque is not properly removed through daily dental hygiene practices and regular professional dental cleaning, bacteria may set in and cause gingivitis, the earliest sign of gum disease. Other causes of gum disease include organic changes in the mouth, medical conditions, saliva flow inhibitors and poor functional habits, such as teeth grinding.

What is the Link?

An oral-systemic connection describes a link between various diseases and conditions of the mouth, and medical conditions of the body. Certain medical conditions of the body have early oral manifestations, making regular dental visits integral to maintaining a healthy oral environment and controlling oral infections from the body that can cause tooth caries and periodontal disease.

The following are medical conditions, viruses and diseases that have an oral-systemic connection:
* Aids - White patches on the tongue and inner cheeks are indicators of AIDS.
* Diabetes - People with diabetes who happen to have periodontal disease may suffer excessive bone loss of the jaw or surrounding bone structure and have difficulties healing.
* Heart Disease - Poor oral health caused by chronic dental infections may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
* Pancreatic Cancer - Strong evidence has found a link to periodontal disease and a person's increased risk for pancreatic cancer.
* Stroke - Studies have linked periodontal disease with strokes.

Proper Prevention At-home and In-office

One of the most important prevention techniques is brushing and flossing at least twice a day to remove dental plaque, a film-like coating that forms on your teeth. If not removed, plaque can build up and produce dental tartar, a hardened, sticky substance with acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay and lead to gum disease.

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is arguably the most essential component to the maintenance of good oral health. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the tooth surfaces while flossing removes plaque from in between the teeth. Many people do not realize the importance of flossing and often forego the hygienic practice, believing that tooth brushing is an adequate enough practice for removing plaque. Flossing is not hard, does not take much time and should be performed daily to eliminate plaque.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can help to improve your oral health. At your dental cleaning, diagnostic services may include:
* Reviewing and updating medical history
* Oral cancer examination and screening
* Evaluation of gum tissue
* Checking biting, chewing and swallowing patterns
* X-rays, examination of teeth to detect decay
* Treatment planning
* Referral to specialists for specific treatment

Your East Hartford dentist will provide you with proper tooth brushing and flossing instructions, as well as an array of other helpful information for maintaining a healthy smile and healthy body.

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Dr. Robert Katz, dentist in East Hartford, works alongside Drs. Elzbieta Wallace, DMD and Alison Hadden, DMD to bring quality dental care to the East Hartford, CT community. Performing all phases of dentistry, Dr. Katz and Associates provide care for their patients including dental implants, veneers and Invisalign in Hartford.

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