Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is a major health issue in the United States; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in every four deaths each year is caused by heart disease. Finding successful prevention and treatment for this condition is incredibly important, as it remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Organizations like the American Heart Association help to fund research efforts that can give more insight into risk factors or cures for heart disease. Recently, more and more of these studies have shown that patients with periodontal disease, or gum disease, are twice as likely to develop heart disease. At Metro Dental Care, we know the crucial link between your oral health and the overall health and wellbeing of your body. If you have other risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, excessive alcohol use or if you are overweight or obese, it’s especially imperative to schedule an appointment with us today to help ensure your gums are as healthy as possible. Below, learn more about the links between gum disease and heart disease and how our Denver team can help you prevent or treat existing gum disease.
A Heart Connection
Researchers believe the connection between these two diseases comes from the same bacteria. When oral bacterial infections develop in the gum tissue, the harmful oral bacteria strains can be transmitted to the rest of the body through blood supply. The bacteria is picked up by blood in the mouth and then circulated throughout the body through your arteries and veins.
Researchers have found evidence of oral bacteria within plaque deposits in arteries. It’s thought that this oral bacteria traveling through the body latches onto plaque buildup within the arteries. The human body reacts to unwelcome bacterial infections by becoming inflamed. As a result, the arteries further swell and become more restricted.
Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. In its first stage, gum disease can often be treated with increased brushing, the use of an antiseptic mouthwash, and daily flossing at home. However, if gingivitis is not reversed, our team of doctors provide more in-depth treatments such as scaling and root planing to eliminate periodontal “pockets’ of infection, and reverse the spread of infection. Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning process that reaches below the gum line to remove unseen infection from around teeth roots. Our team uses special tools to effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup that can separate the gum tissue from teeth causing deep pockets of infection to form.
Know the Warning Signs
By paying close attention to your gums, you can reduce your chances of developing gum disease through early action with at-home treatments and professional dental cleanings, thereby helping to prevent the spread of oral bacteria into your circulatory system. Do you heart and mouth a favor by quickly taking action if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- red, swollen gums that are sore or tender to the touch
- bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- sores or other signs of infection inside the mouth
- rapidly receding gum lines
- chronic bad breath, even after brushing
- the feeling of “loose” teeth
If you are looking for ways to not only improve your oral health, but reduce your risks for heart disease, schedule a dental cleaning and examination this month, in honor of American Heart Month. A healthy mouth can have a big impact on your overall health and quality of life; don’t put off a visit to your Denver dentist. Call Metro Dental Care today at 303.534.2626.