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Plaque is one of the primary factors contributing to periodontal disease. Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that is constantly forming on the tooth’s surface. Saliva, food and fluids combine to produce these deposits, which collect where the teeth and gums meet. Plaque buildup is the primary factor in periodontal disease. While gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums, it may lead to more serious, destructive forms if left untreated.
It’s essential to prevent the build-up of plaque by:
Just as with any health condition, the earlier you seek treatment the better. It’s important to maintain your biannual dental checkup regimen to catch oral hygiene issues before they have a chance to fully develop.
To explain the relationship between the heart and periodontal infections, current theory suggests that bacteria present in infected gums can come loose and move throughout the body. This means these same bacteria that cause gum disease might travel to your arteries.
Research suggests that once bacteria reach the arteries, they can irritate tissue in the same way they do the gum tissue, causing arterial plaque to build up in the arteries. This accumulation of bacteria can cause arteries to harden, restrict blood flow and potentially result in a heart attack or stroke.
Even though the research is not conclusive at this point, it’s still important to try and prevent periodontal disease and infections from the start.
© 2008 P&G