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It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. That may or may not be true, but did you know that your gums are the gateway to your body? In fact, harmful bacteria can access the rest of your body through your gums, which is why it is so important to keep them healthy and to know the signs of gum disease. You may know by now that gum disease can lead to loose or lost teeth, bad breath and problems with your jaw, but did you know–gum disease can also be a factor in heart disease respiratory problems and dementia; and can cause complications for people with diabetes.

Gum disease results from a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Your gums swell in reaction to the plaque, allowing it to penetrate below the gumline. This in turn allows bacteria to enter your body. If you inhale that bacteria over enough time, you could face respiratory problems. If bacteria enters your bloodstream it can interact with fatty deposits to restrict the flow of blood, and lead to an inflammation of the heart valves. Should that bacteria find its way into your nervous system, you could face dementia, and even Alzheimer’s. Gum disease can also increase the symptoms of diabetes.

Gum disease is often painless in its earliest stages. However, its symptoms include swollen, tender or receding gums, sensitivity, and blood when brushing or flossing. Prevention and early treatment are the key components to dealing with gum disease. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, and floss at least once a day. Regular cleanings and exams at your dentist’s office will remove the plaque and tartar that your toothbrush missed, and allow your dentist to detect and treat gum disease before it becomes a significant problem. If you’re concerned about gum disease, or if it is just time for your routine visit, our dentist, Dr. Van Parham will be happy to see you. If you live in the Irving, Texas, area and would like to make an appointment at The Art of Dentistry, call 972-441-8199 today to plan your visit!