1) Can tooth loss really lead to dementia?
A recent study found that people with fewer teeth had a higher risk of experiencing memory loss or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. This may be because the gum infections that can cause tooth loss may release chemicals that increase the brain inflammation which leads to earlier memory loss. The four signs to watch out for are a) memory loss, b) repeating yourself and c) memory loss
2) What are the tell-tale signs of gum disease?
Visit your dentist or hygienist if you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, which can include:
• Inflammation of the gums, causing them to be red, swollen and to bleed easily, especially when brushing.
• An unpleasant taste in your mouth.
• Bad breath.
• Loose teeth.
• Regular mouth infections.
3) Can exercise help to prevent gum disease?
A recent study has shown that people who stay fit and healthy are 40% less likely to develop tooth-threatening gum infections that could lead to gum disease. It also found that not exercising, not keeping to a normal body weight and unhealthy eating habits make a person much more likely to get advanced gum disease. People wearing dentures lose up to 90% of chewing function.
4) How can I help to stop my gum disease getting worse?
If you have gum disease, your dentist or hygienist will usually give your teeth a thorough clean to remove any plaque or tartar. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or hygienist. We can also show you how to remove the soft plaque yourself, by cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly at home. (See the periodontitis section of our website for more info). Gum disease is never cured. But as long as you keep up the home-care AND QUIT SMOKING, you can slow down its progress and even stop it altogether. You must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular check-ups with the dentist and hygienist, typically every 4 months.
5) Could gum disease affect my unborn baby?
Pregnant women who have gum disease may be over three times more likely to have a baby that is premature and so has a low birth weight. There is a one-in-four chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease will give birth before 35 weeks. It seems that gum disease raises the levels of the chemicals that bring on labour. Research also suggests that women whose gum disease gets worse during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby. Having gum disease treated properly during pregnancy can reduce the risk of a premature birth.
6) How could diabetes affect my dental health?
People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without it. This is probably because diabetics are more likely to get infections in general. People who do not know they have diabetes, or whose diabetes is not under control, are especially at risk. If you do have diabetes it is important that any gum disease is diagnosed, because it can increase your blood sugar. This would put you at risk of diabetic complications. Also, if you are diabetic, you may find that you heal more slowly. If you have a problem with your gums, or have problems after visits to your dentist, discuss this with your dentist before you have any treatment. New research has also shown that you are more likely to develop diabetes if you have gum disease. If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of losing teeth.
7)What is the link between gum disease and strokes?
Several studies have looked at the connection between mouth infections and strokes. They have found that people who have had a stroke are more likely to have gum disease than people who have not had one. When the bacteria that cause gum disease get into the bloodstream, they produce a protein. This can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, and this can block the blood supply to the brain. This can cause a stroke.
8)How can the health of my mouth affect my heart?
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease than people without gum disease. When people have gum disease, bacteria from the mouth can get into their bloodstream. The bacteria produce protein. This can then affect the heart by causing the platelets in the blood to stick together in the blood vessels of the heart. This can make clots more likely to form. Blood clots can reduce normal blood flow, so that the heart does not get all the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a heart attack.
9 ) How can I tell if I have bad breath?
Lots of small signals can show that you have bad breath. Have you noticed people stepping away when you start to talk? Do people turn their cheek when you kiss them goodbye? If you think you might have bad breath, there is a simple test that you can do. Simply lick the inside of your wrist and sniff – if the smell is bad, you can be pretty sure that your breath is too. Or, ask a very good friend to be absolutely honest, but do make sure they are a true friend, (or a complete and total stranger you will never meet again)
10) Could the health of my mouth affect my general health?
Yes. There are new findings which support something that dental professionals have suspected for a long time: infections in the mouth can cause problems in other parts of the body.