Most people know that in order to live a healthy lifestyle, you must eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and avoid tobacco products. What many people don’t realize is that tooth brushing and flossing are just as important in helping to maintain overall health. Routine oral care is the best way to prevent periodontal, or gum, disease. And since research has linked gum disease to several other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, maintaining periodontal health is more important than ever.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects not only the gums, but also the bone supporting the teeth. “If left untreated, it destroys the supporting bone and tissues that hold the teeth in the mouth,” said Dr. Brian Shuman, Chairman of Vermont State Dental Society’s Continuing Education Division. “Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.”
The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that eight out of 10 Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease. “Because periodontal disease develops silently and painlessly, most people don’t even know they have it, until it becomes advanced,” said Dr. Shuman.
For more information on preventing periodontal disease, or to determine if you are at risk, visit www.keepyourteeth.com and www.perio.org.