Not to scare you or anything but....
- Oral and facial pain. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, this pain may be largely due to infection of the gums that support the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, and advanced gum disease affect more than 75% of the U.S. population.
- Problems with the heart and other major organs. Mouth infections can affect major organs. For example, the heart and heart valves can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, a condition that affects people with heart disease or anyone with damaged heart tissue.
- Digestion problems. Digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in the mouth, and problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can't reach.
- Eat a healthy diet to provide the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C, in particular) to prevent gum disease.
- Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
- Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. This is one of the most effective ways to detect the early signs of gum disease.