Without any type of cardiovascular testing, it may be possible to detect an early heart problem. However, scientists have done research that shows a person’s mouth may be able to tell if he or she is at a high risk to develop heart disease. Individuals with periodontal disease (or gum disease) are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. Since there is this link between the two conditions, your dentist may be able to help with your overall health.
What is the Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease?
Many researchers believe that these two conditions are both caused by bacteria. When your gums become infected, the bacteria that is causing the problem breaks the wall between your gums and the connective tissue. As you chew and brush, this bacteria enters the bloodstream, which means that it may be carried to other parts of your body, including your heart.
Swelling is your body’s own way to fight an infection. When bacteria from your mouth moves to other places in your body, more inflammation occurs and often forms arterial plaque. This causes your arteries to become blocked, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Should I Be Worried About Having Dental Procedures Performed?
If you have a pre-existing condition that involves your heart, you may be at a heightened risk for the development of bacterial endocarditis. This is an infection that affects the heart’s valves and inner lining. At any point that your mouth bleeds, some bacteria may enter your bloodstream and settle on weakened tissues or valves. If this is the case, the infection may cause extreme damage. Before any dental procedure, make sure to inform your dentist about any heart conditions that may be of concern.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease infects the tissues that support your teeth. With this condition, you may lose your teeth. The American Dental Association explains that the best way to prevent this from happening is to properly care for your oral health, including:
- Brushing Twice Daily
- Eating a Balanced Diet
- Visiting Your Dentist for Semi-Annual Exams
Recognizing the Early Signs of Periodontal Disease
Usually, gum disease presents itself with red or swollen gums. You may also experience bleeding when you brush. You may notice that your gums begin to recede as well. Oftentimes, a person suffering from the periodontal disease will have bad breath or a sour taste in his or her mouth.
Treating Gum Disease
If you believe that you have gum disease, you should consult with your dentist immediately. During the early stages, it is possible to reverse the condition. However, when periodontal damage has become severe, it may be necessary to perform surgery, tissue or bone grafts, or further invasive treatments.
At the office of Dr. Dana Walters, all patients receive top dental care. At each visit, the doctor will examine every patient’s mouth. If he detects periodontal disease, he will recommend the best course of action to protect the patient’s overall health. For an appointment, contact our office today.