The health of your mouth, teeth, and gums is essential for good overall health. In fact, studies show there is an association between oral health and your heart.
This connection is twofold. First, warning signs detected in your oral exam may indicate that other systemic diseases are present. Second, moderate or advanced gum disease can leave you at a higher risk for heart disease.
Poor oral health – from bad brushing habits or gum disease – can spread bacteria to other parts of your body through your blood vessels. This bacteria causes inflammation and may cause other damage if it reaches your heart. Luckily, there are early warning signs to watch out for that can protect you.
What Gum Disease Looks Like
Gum disease at the earliest stage is called gingivitis. A bacteria build-up causes this on your teeth and gum line, leading to plaque. Plaque that is not removed will become tartar, which cannot be cleaned by at-home brushing.
To prevent you from reaching this point, routine cleanings and proper oral hygiene are a must.
If the disease progresses past this first stage, it is called periodontitis or advanced-stage gum disease. This can lead to pockets in your gums that host infection. If left untreated, this could result in loose teeth or even tooth loss.
A few signs that you may have gum disease that requires treatment before it causes further health problems are:
- Tender, red, or swollen gums or gums that bleed
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Pain when you chew
- Loose teeth
- A change in your bite patterns
What Heart Disease Looks Like
Heart disease affects the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle. Heart attacks aren’t the only conditions that can develop due to heart disease. In fact, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure are possible too.
You are at greater risk of this disease if you smoke, have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, have an unhealthy diet, don’t exercise, or are overweight.
How Oral Health And Your Heart Are Connected
The results are in. A surprising connection exists between poor oral health and cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.
Many studies have discovered that there’s an association between seemingly unconnected conditions and periodontitis. For example, there’s a connection between gum disease and heart disease, and poor oral health can negatively affect your heart valves.
These studies illustrate just how interconnected your oral health and the health of your heart truly are.
Prevent Gum Disease With These Practices
While it may feel like gum disease is unavoidable, there are ways to prevent it. If you already have it, there are treatment options available to you with your dentist or periodontist.
Gum disease prevention is possible when you:
- Brush and floss twice daily.
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings.
- Take extra precautions by getting routine X-Rays, fluoride treatments, and sealants or fillings when needed.
Treatment For Gum Disease
If you’re past the point of prevention, you may be considering your options for gum disease treatment. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, there are surgical and non-surgical treatment options.
Surgical Treatment Options for Gum Disease
Surgical treatment options include gum or soft tissue grafts, pocket reduction, or a bone graft. These procedures are more involved and have longer healing times.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Gum Disease
Non-surgical treatments include a round of short-term antibiotics, scaling, and root planing. These procedures can be done from the comfort of your general dentist’s office and are a great first step to treating gum disease.
See Empire Dental Care and Prevent Gum Disease
As mentioned, routine cleanings are the first step to preventing gum disease from progressing to periodontitis. Empire Dental Care is here to help with that! We take extra care to provide a gentle yet thorough deep cleaning of your teeth and gums to remove bacteria that cause gum disease.
Schedule your next appointment with us to prevent the progression of gum disease. You’ll leave knowing you’re protected against other concerning effects that gum disease can have on your overall health. Call us at 585-671-1650.