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Did you know that the Surgeon General reported recently that at least 80% of American adults have gum disease? Gum disease can cause heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.  People with gum disease are twice as likely to die from heart disease and three times as likely to die from stroke. So how do you know if you have gum disease?

First simply ask yourself the following questions: Do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth? Are any of my teeth loose? Do I have receding gums? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have gum (periodontal) disease. A trip to your dentist and a very simple, painless examination will confirm your findings.

So, now what do I do about it?  Your dentist and dental hygienist will develop a treatment plan to support you in re-establishing your oral health. The plan will consist of a series of periodontal therapy appointments and a saliva test to determine the type of bacteria that is causing your disease. You may also be prescribed antibiotics and other therapeutic agents to help eradicate the disease. Additionally, your dental professionals will review your flossing and brushing habits and make the appropriate suggestions to help you clean your teeth like never before.

There is a lot at stake here.  Since periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, diabetics that have difficulty maintaining close blood sugar controls, may find that gum therapy will bring their sugar levels back under control.

Up to 93% of people with gum disease are at risk for diabetes. And if you have diabetes and bleeding gums, your risk of premature death increases by 400 to 700 percent. A recent Harvard study stated that gum disease increases kidney and pancreatic cancer by 62%.

So, just ask yourself the questions, make a dental appointment with either Dr. Higham or Dr. Sauchelli, and get the appropriate therapy and you can add 6.5 years to your life.

Now isn’t that a great idea!