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If you suffer from gum disease, you are at risk for loose teeth, receding gums, and jaw problems. But gum disease can have complications that range beyond your mouth. If you inhale enough bacteria from your gum disease, you could in time develop a respiratory infection. If you have diabetes, you will have more difficult to control your blood sugar levels, and your symptoms can get worse. If the bacteria from your gums finds its way into your bloodstream, your arteries could harden and plaque could accumulate on your arterial walls. The walls of your heart valves can swell, and the overall effect of these conditions is an increased risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Finally, if that bacteria reaches your nervous system, you might eventually face dementia.

The best way to deal with gum disease is through prevention. The primary cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. If that plaque is not removed, your gums will swell and the plaque will be able to work its way below your gumline, which is what allows the bacteria to enter your system. Although gum disease may be painless in the early stages, you may notice that your gums are tender, red, or swollen, or that they bleed when you brush and floss. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. Seeing your dentist twice a year for your cleanings and checkups will allow her to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth that your toothbrush may have missed, and to look for the early indicators of gum disease.

If you have been having problems with your gums, if you are looking for a family dentist, or if it is just time for your routine exam, our dentist, Dr. Lida M. Vargas at Virginia Dental Group would love to meet you. If you live in the Fairfax, Virginia, area and would like to make an appointment at Virginia Dental Group, call 703-385-3800 today. Let’s get you started on the road to a great smile!