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Dangers of Plaque & Gingivitis to Your Health

Gum Disease and Dementia

Gum disease has also been found to raise the risk of dementia later in life.

Other researchers have found that periodontal problems may also be associated with milder cognitive impairment, such as memory problems that make activities of daily life more difficult. In a recent study, participants who had the worst gum disease scored the worst on memory tests and calculations.

Periodontal Disease and RA

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease marked by inflammation and painful joints. People with RA are more likely to have periodontal disease, and one study found that they had more missing teeth than people who don't have RA.

Chronic inflammation is common to both conditions. Although scientists haven't found evidence that one condition causes the other, a 2009 study found that people with a severe form of RA had less pain, swelling, and morning stiffness after their periodontal disease was treated.

Gum Disease and Premature Birth

Studies on the link between periodontal disease and preterm birth have produced conflicting results. Although some show that women with gum disease are more likely to deliver a baby before term -- which sets up the baby for health risks -- others have not found a link. Studies are ongoing.

Despite those conflicting results, other research has found that treating periodontal disease in pregnant women helps them carry their infants to term. In a recent study, researchers found that women with periodontal disease who completed periodontal treatment before the 35th week were less likely to deliver their babies before term than those with periodontal disease who did not get treatment.

Minimizing the Dangers of Plaque & Gingivitis

To keep plaque under control, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.

Get your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis, and ask your dentist about the best cleaning schedule for you. Find out if you might benefit from a protective coating or sealant applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of your mouth, where tooth decay often begins.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Steve Drescher, DDS on April 14, 2013

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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