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You know that brushing and flossing your teeth is your body’s first defense against gum disease. When gum disease has progressed from its early stage—gingivitis—to periodontitis, you will find your gums infected and inflamed because bacteria has hardened into tartar, which can only be removed by dental tools your dental team uses to scrape it away.

Your daily brushing and flossing routine helps to keep tartar at bay by removing the plaque that collects near the gum line. Tartar near the gum line causes gum tissue to pull away from your teeth. When this happens, pockets in the gums develop and this allows bacterial infection. If you do not have this removed by your dentist, the infection can progress and cause bone loss in the supporting tooth structure.

Severe gum disease, where they are infected over time, can lead to systemic inflammation which wears down your immune system and can influence other medical conditions which you may have.

In people who have diabetes or blood sugar which is uncontrolled, it is often difficult for their body to fight infection. In these situations it is easier for bacteria to spread through the affected areas in the gum tissue. Once the gums are infected it takes longer to heal without using antibiotics to help stem the illness.

For those people with heart disease or stroke, the relationship between these illnesses and gum disease is not fully understood. The American Heart Association has done several studies that finds that people with heart disease also have a higher rate of gum disease. This could be related to other factors, such as tobacco use which can have a negative impact on one’s health.

Another finding of the American Cancer Society is that men who are middle-aged and who have gum disease are more likely to develop certain types of cancer, including kidney, pancreatic, and various blood cancers.

In your quest for overall good health, you want to practice healthy lifestyle choices where you can. To protect yourself from gum disease, brush and floss to keep plaque at bay and see your dentist to keep tartar off of your gums gum line.

Contact our office at if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your gums. We want to help you keep your smile its brightest ever!