Periodontal Disease and Your Heart
Heart disease is a broad term that covers several different issues, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure. These issues often occur as a result of plaque buildup in your arteries, causing them to become narrower, restricting the blood flow. There are many factors that contribute to heart disease, such as poor diet and lack of exercise. However, did you know that periodontal disease can also increase your risk for developing heart health problems? At Fusion Dental Specialists, we can help you to further prevent serious heart problems by providing you with periodontal disease treatment, and preventative measures, to help keep your mouth and your heart healthy.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is a progressive condition that affects the health of your gums, your teeth, the periodontal ligaments (the structures that support your teeth) and your jawbone. In response to the bacterial attack, your immune system causes your gums to become inflamed. Inflammation leads to your gums pulling away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and continue to grow and destroy from within. The early stages of gum disease are recognized by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush and floss. Eventually, your gums begin to recede, and your teeth become loose. The longer you ignore periodontal disease, the more likely you become to lose your teeth completely.
What is the link?
So, what does the health of your mouth have to do with the health of your heart? In a word, the main link is inflammation. With more advanced stages of periodontal disease, the bacteria that are under your gums can enter your bloodstream. As a result, your body’s immune system tries to attack the invaders. This causes your arteries to become inflamed, restricting your blood flow.
There is also another link that may play a role. Those who have periodontal disease tend to have poor lifestyle choices in general. Many are smokers, don’t exercise, and don’t eat a well-balanced diet. Moreover, these are some of the strongest contributing factors to heart disease.
Keeping Your Mouth, and Your Heart, Healthy
According to the American Heart Association, there is no evidence that preventing periodontal disease cannot prevent heart disease, but it can help. By taking care of your mouth with regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings and exams, you are taking steps to improve your overall health. It is also important that you work with your physician and take your prescription medications as directed, along with taking steps to improve your whole-body health such as exercising and improving your diet.
If you have heart disease, and you are faced with periodontal disease, treatment is important. It is also imperative that you communicate your condition, along with any medications you are taking, with us, as it can affect the outcome of your treatment.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene along with a healthy lifestyle is important for the health of your mouth and your heart. For more information on the link between periodontal disease and your heart, or to schedule your appointment, contact Fusion Dental Specialists today at (503) 653-9517!