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The Nasty Truth About Gum Disease

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | January 6, 2015

The mouth is an entrance to the body, probably the easiest way for a nasty virus or bacteria to get in us and make us sick.  We all worry about washing our hands and our food before eating them, but does anyone think to worry about the bacteria that actually LIVE in our mouths?!  Everyone naturally has good and bad bacteria living in our mouths.  The problem comes when the bad bacteria multiplies out of control.  This can happen without a person even realizing!

Gum Inflammation (Gingivitis) usually precedes Gum Disease (Periodontitis) and not all Gingivitis turns into Periodontitis.  When a person has Gingivitis their gums tend to bleed easily when brushing or flossing.  If this is left untreated it can progress to Gum Disease.  In a person with Gum Disease, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.  This causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. These same bacteria are linked with the following systemic (whole body) diseases:

There are more, but I think the point is made. This is all treatable and manageable with early detection and maintenance.  Brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist regularly is a part of overall health!