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When you think of your smile you generally think about your pearly whites. But don’t forget about the healthy pink gum tissue that supports your teeth. Keeping your gums healthy is every bit as important as protecting your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease, or periodontitis, can wreak havoc on a healthy smile.

In the early stages of gum disease, or gingivitis, you can simply step up your daily hygiene routine. Brush your teeth, your gums and gum line with a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste. Floss between the teeth and gums and around the gum line in those areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. This loosens the bacterial film which can lead to plaque and tartar over time. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill any surface bacteria remaining and flush them away.

If you already have hardened plaque or tartar built up around your gums and gum line, this will need to be removed by your dentist with special tools. If left unchecked, tartar will cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. When this happens pockets in the gums are created where bacteria can infect them and in time, the infection can cause the loss of bone material which holds the teeth in your jaw.

Advanced gum disease will eventually lead to systemic inflammation. This prevents your immune system from doing its job which makes you more vulnerable to other health problems. Medical issues which can be complicated by gum disease include:

–heart attack
–stroke
–diabetes
–osteoporosis
–respiratory disease
–low preterm birth rates in pregnant mothers
–digestive disorders

In the case of diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar, you can have difficulty fighting infection. This makes it easier for the bacteria in your mouth to spread throughout the damaged areas of your gums. After the gum tissue has become infected it can take much longer to heal unless you use antibiotics.

You may not always be able to prevent diseases of the body, but gum disease is one that you can prevent from developing. Tend to your teeth and gums every day with your oral hygiene routine and make sure to see your dentist every six months to remove tartar.

Please call our office at 540-657-0867 if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Together we can help your smile and body stay healthy and vital for years to come.