If a specialist were to tell you that your cholesterol is too high and, as a result, double your chances of developing heart disease, would you kick yourself into action and do something about it? Most rational people would. In fact, after hearing those words, many would consult a nutritionist, start an exercise regimen, or alter their diet by eliminating cheese or switching to egg whites.
Now, suppose you hear the news that heart disease was twice as high in people with gum disease (or periodontal disease) and you were one of those many people who suffered from this condition. Would you set up an appointment with your dentist with the same urgency as before?
Studies About The Link Between Gum And Heart Disease
According to some studies, periodontal disease has proven to be among the strongest risk factors linked to heart disease, along with hypertension and the sort. Oral bacteria can infect damaged hearts and certain types can cause platelets to aggregate. New findings have emerged explaining how and why gum-disease-causing bacteria can also increase the risk of heart disease. Researchers at Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine and presenters at the 150th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science also concluded that the bacteria found in plaque (the primary etiological factor causing gum disease) is linked to coronary disease.
How Does Gum Disease Affect The Heart?
People afflicted by gum disease are twice as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and nearly three times more likely to suffer a stroke than those with no periodontal issues. It is long-thought that oral bacteria, the most well-known kind being streptococci, invades the blood circulation through small ulcers in the gum tissue. The bacteria cause platelets in the circulatory system to build up and create blood clots (known as thrombi) which can block veins and taint heart valves.
At the point when you reflect on the impact of gum disease, think not just as far as how it affects your dental health, but also how it could provoke dangerous and possibly lethal infection from the spread of bacteria into your bloodstream. Avoiding other risk factors like smoking and chewing tobacco which have a detrimental effect on the severity of gum disease is also very beneficial to both gum & heart well-being. Systemic diseases like diabetes can lower the oral tissue’s resistance to infection, making gum disease even more severe.
How To Prevent Gum and Heart Disease?
Have your dentist review your medical history in-depth during your appointment. Oftentimes, high cholesterol wouldn’t be the only red flag that can be raised. A considerable lot of the meds or drugs that you might take can diminish your salivary flow and immensely affect your teeth and gums. Prevention and early detection are vital parts in beating heart disease. The following are symptoms of gum disease:
- gums that tend to bleed easier and often
- tender or swollen gums
- halitosis (bad breath)
- loose teeth, or teeth that feel like they move
- secretions between gums and teeth
Infections like gingivitis and more also pose a threat and are considered red flags in such cases. If you suffer from any of the aforementioned signs, contact a professional dentist or periodontist for a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.
Available Treatments for Gum Disease
There are many procedures, routine check-ups, and other dental & oral services that can aid in the prevention of developing heart disease due to poor oral and dental hygiene. Treatments like periodontics and dental cleanings are necessary to keep gum health steady and to cross one risk factor off the list of coronary illness. However, there is a wide array of solutions you and your dental specialist can discuss during a consultation or appointment. Teeth are intended to last you a lifetime, and a healthy heart and body should help improve your overall quality of life. They shouldn’t impede one another.