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Gum Disease and Hearth Health

If you go to your dentist regularly, you may hear them discuss gum disease–an infection of the gum tissue. You may know the term from watching commercials about toothpaste or toothbrushes. However, you may not know the seriousness of this condition. Although gum disease may be mild in its early stages, it can cause major damage to your mouth and body without treatment. 

Gum Disease and Hearth Health

Gum Health and Heart Health Connection

But did you know that gum disease has also been linked to other health problems, including heart disease? While the exact relationship between gum disease and heart health is not fully understood, evidence suggests that the two conditions are connected.

One theory is that the bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, including the heart. Once there, these bacteria can cause inflammation, leading to atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in the arteries. Over time, this can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Another theory is that the inflammation caused by gum disease can also affect the heart. Inflammation is key to developing many chronic diseases, including heart disease. When the body is in a constant state of inflammation, it can damage the lining of the blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots.

How to Treat or Prevent Gum Disease

So, what can you do to protect your heart health if you have gum disease? The first step is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups.

Your dentist may also recommend additional treatments to help control the bacteria in your mouth, such as antimicrobial mouth rinses or scaling and root planing. This deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line.

In addition to good oral hygiene, there are other steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. These include maintaining a healthy diet and weight and exercising regularly. Additionally, you should consider quitting smoking. Managing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can reduce your risks.  By taking care of your overall health, you can also protect your oral health and reduce your risk of gum disease.

If you already have gum disease, seeking treatment as soon as possible is important. Left untreated, gum disease can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. Additionally, this can increase your risk of other health problems, such as heart disease. Your dentist can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that will help protect your overall health.