Research has shown that gum disease can influence heart disease and other health conditions in negative ways. They suggest that gum disease could even be a more serious factor in heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, hypertension and age.
One reason for this is the fact that the bacteria found in diseased gums can come loose and move throughout the body. When this bacteria reaches arteries it can cause arterial plaque to build up and harden which in return adversely affect blood flow.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums which gradually lead to the destruction of the bone support around your natural teeth. These diseases effect more that 80% of Americans by the age of 45.
Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria found in plaque produce enzymes and toxins which injure the gums. Injured gums turn red, swell and bleed easily.
If this injury is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis develops as toxins, enzymes and other plaque byproducts by irritating the gums, making them tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily. Gingivitis generally can be stopped with proper oral hygiene and minor treatment from your dentist. If this is achieved, your gums can return to a healthy state.