When most people think of oral/dental health, they are likely to focus on preventing decay (cavities) in teeth. But your gums are just as important. Gums serve a significant role, not only in your dental health but also in your overall physical health.
Some symptoms to look for with gum problems are:
• Deep pockets forming between teeth and gums
• Loose, shifting movement in teeth
• Constant bad taste in mouth or foul breath
• Tender, red or swollen gums
• Bleeding during brushing and flossing
If you have bleeding gums and would like to see them healed once and for all, it is now possible. Dentists are doing a simple swish-and-spit test that identifies the exact bacteria causing your bleeding gums. And the treatment to kill those bacteria is sometimes as easy as taking an antibiotic. 
Why is this so important? Because research has proven that inflammation – red bleeding gums, for example – anywhere in the body sets up a cascade of chemical responses that puts your whole body at risk for such things as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, kidney disease, arthritis, and urinary tract infections, to name a few. Also, under these conditions, the cells of your body find it difficult to absorb sugar, causing you to be more likely to develop diabetes.  And if you’re pregnant, you are more likely to have complications with your unborn baby.
So, tell me, are you tired of hearing your dentist say you need to floss and brush more – especially when you know that you brush twice a day at home and floss before bedtime?  Well, I’m writing to tell you that it’s not your fault.  You and your dentist are simply lacking valuable information. 
There are specific periodontal tests that can detect the actual DNA information and help your dentist solve the mystery of your bleeding gums. With proper treatment, you will enjoy a healthier mouth and body.  Imagine your next dental cleaning being easy and pain-free because you aren’t bleeding and hurting. Imagine your dentist or hygienist being amazed at how healthy your mouth is and how happy you are at not having to listen to another boring lecture about how to floss. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your body has one less strike against its longevity.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of people suffer from gum disease at one time or other in their lives.  Ancient Egyptians treated gum disease with myrrh, and folk medicine practitioners recommended cranberries.  
If you are one of the 80 percent with gum disease, but you’re fresh out of myrrh and aren’t so crazy about cranberries, call your dentist and schedule an appointment to do the simple swish-and-spit test, and stop your gums from bleeding before you get sick.

Bridget Young, DMD, is owner of Arts & Crafts Dental, 1160 Bardstown Road. For more information, call (502) 238-3131 or visit