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A few months ago I clicked on a news link about dental floss. As a dentist, anything about dental news piques my interest. So I clicked on the link and read through the news article.

The tone of the article surprised me. The report claimed that the benefits of floss are unproven. According to the Associated Press, the federal government endorsed the act of flossing without properly studying it. I’m not here to dispute the reporting, but I would encourage my patients not to take this news article as an invitation not to floss. We dentists still maintain that floss is one of your best defenses against problems like gum disease and cavities. So today, I want to provide you with some information about gum disease. It’s a total body health issue.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.

Gum disease is about more than swollen or bleeding gums. Gum disease can become so advanced that it causing the gums and bone to recede. With the recession of the gums and bone, the tooth can become loss. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s unlikely that we can save a loose teeth. It often needs to be extracted, and then we’ll plan for replacement option. Gum disease spreads extremely quickly, meaning it can lead to rampant tooth loss in the mouth if not stopped by a dentist.

Gum disease rubs elbows with dangerous diseases.

Gum disease is a problem that is created by an infection. That’s a basic way to explain to. This infection can cause inflammation in the gums. Research has shown that people who have gum disease are at a higher risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. While there is no cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and problems like diabetes or heart disease, there is a direct correlation between your teeth and your health. When you lose your teeth, it’s harder to maintain a healthy diet. Studies have found that patients missing their teeth can cut their lifespan by 10 years or more.

Gum disease can strike without little warning.

The most common signs of gum disease are bleeding or swollen gums. The gums can bleed while you brush or floss your teeth, but it’s possible to have gum disease and experience no bleeding or swelling of the gums. The only way to check the health of your gums is to visit your oral health professional.

Gum disease is not curable.

It’s estimated that about 75 percent of people will struggle with some form of gum disease in their lives. Gingivitis, which is the most mild form of gum disease, can be reversed with proper intervention. But unfortunately, the advanced stages of gum disease, including periodontitis, are not curable. We can manage your gum disease, we just can’t cure it. I wish there was a cure for gum disease, but at least we have comfortable, modern tools to treat the problem. Today we can use nonsurgical laser dentistry to remove any infections in the gums. Laser dentistry involves no cutting or stitching of the gums, and we’ve found that laser dentistry promotes health reattachment of the teeth and gums.

I hope these tips help you see that floss is vital to your oral health — or at least have you thinking about how gum disease can affect your health. If you’re ready to start your treatment with our office, give us a call today at (503) 388-4691.