Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease
The mouth is a gateway to your entire body. Everything that’s in your mouth, from the food you eat and the bacteria that forms, will end up in your body. It is well documented that there is a correlation between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. Scientist believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the link between periodontal disease and heart disease.
Periodontal disease is caused by poor oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily removes plaque, a thick film of bacteria that form on teeth. If you skip brushing and flossing, bacteria will irritate and inflame the gums which can form the earliest from of gum disease called gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. Gums will start to pull back from the root of the tooth which created pockets and will gradually widen. More bacteria will settle in these pockets causing infection and more inflammation. Untreated periodontal disease can destroy the bond and tissue holding teeth to the jawbone, which can cause the tooth to loosen and possibly fall out.
Scientists suspect the link between the periodontal and heart disease is due to the same gum infecting bacteria. The bacteria infect gum tissue around the teeth causing gum inflammation as it breaks down the barrier between gums and underlying connective tissue. During normal chewing and brushing, this bacteria can enter the blood stream and move to parts of the circulatory system which may contribute to the formation or exacerbation of cardiovascular disease. Also, the byproducts of bacteria causing periodontal disease can travel to the liver to produce certain kind of protein that can inflame arteries and cause blood clots that can clog arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes. So treating periodontal disease will not only improve you’re oral health but your overall health as well.
Signs of Gum Disease:
Swollen, red, or tender gums
Gums that bleed easily
Pus between the teeth and gums
Buildup of hard brown deposits along the gum line
Loose teeth or teeth that are moving apart
Changes in the way dental appliances fit
It is important to know what is happening underneath your gums as well as above. Your dentist should be taking measurement around your teeth. Dentists use a probe to measure gum pockets and check the health of your gums. If it is determined you have periodontal disease, the dentist or hygienist can treat it by cleaning the teeth above and below the gum line, a procedure called scaling and root planning (SCRP). Dentists and hygienist use manual scaler or ultrasound devices to scrape away hardening plaque (tartar).
Given the link between periodontal disease and heart disease, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and receive any necessary treatment. Treatment itself is not enough. Treatment must be effective and successful to have an impact.
The first step is diagnosis. The initial symptoms of periodontal disease are often silent. Catch gum disease at its early stages. Or better yet, maintain good oral hygiene and prevent gum disease all together!
If you would like our dentists to check you for gum disease, CONTACT OUR OFFICE TODAY AND SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!
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