As one of the most common dental problems among adults in the United States, gum disease can harm more than just your mouth. You might be surprised just how much of an impact it can have on your heart. Since February is American Heart Association Month and Gum Disease Awareness Month, let us spend some time listening to a local dentist who can answer the question, “Does gum disease increase your risk of heart disease?” He will provide helpful insight into the connection between your gums and heart and what you can do to keep them safe from disease.
If you are unaware of the dangers that come with gum disease, it often occurs in stages. First, this bacterial infection attacks your soft oral tissues and causes redness, inflammation, and bleeding when brushing and flossing your teeth. Known as gingivitis, this is considered the early stage of gum disease and can be easily reversed with regular cleanings and good oral health habits practiced at home.
However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can rapidly escalate into periodontitis, which is a more aggressive and advanced form of gum disease that attacks the jawbone. As a result, the symptoms worsen and the possibility of bone and tooth loss increases. It is also during this stage that infection and inflammation can enter the bloodstream and travel to various areas of the body, one of which includes the heart.
Should this happen, the swelling of your gums and the bacterial growth can cause important arteries to narrow, resulting in serious cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke.
To prevent gum disease and protect your heart, there are a few things you can do, such as:
If your dentist in Marysville sees that early stages of gum disease are developing, make sure you stay on top of your oral hygiene routine to reverse the symptoms. While periodontal therapy is available for more advanced stages, it is always best to prevent the need for treatment, if possible.