If you’ve listened to your dentist’s warnings about gum disease, then you already know how it can lead to tooth loss and other oral health issues. But did you know that the condition can ultimately damage other parts of your body as well? Recently, more and more dentists and researchers have examined the link between gum disease and the heart and while it’s not clear that one causes the other, there’s definitely plenty of evidence to connect the two. Read on to learn how an infection in your mouth might ultimately lead to a life-risking heart problem.
What Does It Mean When You Have Gum Disease?
Your mouth is filled with bacteria, and while some are beneficial, others can lead to oral health issues. If these harmful bacteria infect your gums, they can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding. When left untreated, the infection can grow worse and start to break down the bone and tissues that hold your teeth in place, forming pockets in your gums. After a while, the teeth can become loose and may even be lost altogether.
What Does Gum Disease Have to Do with Your Heart?
There are multiple studies showing that patients with gum disease are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems. For example, one such study found that the risk of heart disease is 20% higher for patients with infected gums.
It is thought that this link is due in part to the inflammation that occurs during gum disease. The gums contain blood vessels that harmful bacteria can enter. When in the bloodstream, they can harden and narrow important arteries, increasing the risk that they’ll become blocked and restrict blood flow to the heart.
Does Treating Gum Disease Prevent Heart Disease?
As of now, there’s no evidence to suggest that treating gum disease can directly prevent the development of a heart problem. However, it is true that keeping your mouth free of infection goes a long way towards keeping the rest of your body healthy. In other words, avoiding or treating gum disease can go a long way towards protecting your overall well-being.
How Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
Improved oral hygiene can help you fight back against early gum disease. For more severe conditions, your dentist can perform a deep cleaning to thoroughly remove plaque and bacteria that has built up around and below the gum line. They can also remove infected tissues with a soft tissue laser that causes little to no bleeding.
It’s important to see your dentist on a regular basis so that they can look for warning signs of gum disease before it becomes to serious. And if you do end up with an infection in your mouth, you should have it taken care of as soon as possible; in the long run, it just might make a big difference for your heart as well as your smile!
About the Practice
At Bethel Dental, we use state-of-the-art technology to bring you high quality care that will help you stay comfortable while your teeth and gums are receiving the treatment they need to stay healthy. We offer thorough deep cleanings and soft-tissue laser therapy to help patients recover from advanced forms of gum disease. To schedule an appointment, visit our website today.