Is there a link between gum disease and heart diseases?

1 Mar

Is there a link between gum disease and heart diseases?

Is there a link between gum disease and heart diseases?

You might think the mouth and heart don’t have much in common. But increasing evidence suggests they may be closely linked. 

Researchers suspect that bacteria present in gum disease (periodontitis) can travel throughout the body, triggering inflammation in the heart’s vessels and infection in heart valves. 

This could affect a lot of people. A groundbreaking study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of American adults age 30 and older and 70 percent of those 65 and older have some stage of gum disease. Let’s dive into each of these potential risks


What is gum disease?

It is also called periodontitis. It's a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss.


What are the causes of periodontitis?

Periodontitis is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. When you don’t brush your teeth and clean in hard-to-reach places in your mouth, the following happens:

  1. The bacteria in your mouth multiply and form a substance known as dental plaque.
  2. If you don’t remove the plaque by brushing, the bacteria deposit minerals within the plaque over time.
  3. This mineral deposit is known as tartar, which will encourage more bacterial growth toward the root of the tooth.
  4. Your body’s immune response to this bacterial growth leads to inflammation in your gums.
  5. The attachment of the gum to the root of a tooth is disrupted over time, and a periodontal pocket (gap) may form between the gum and root.
  6. Harmful anaerobic bacteria colonize in the pocket and multiply, releasing toxins that can damage the gums, teeth, and supporting bone structures.

What are some symptoms that I am developing (or have developed) gingivitis and periodontitis?

Early symptoms of gingivitis are easy to identify – red, puffy, tender, or bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.  Symptoms that you may have developed advanced periodontitis will include the same symptoms; however, they will be much more severe.  You may also notice loose teeth and/or chronic bad breath.  At a more advanced state, you may even notice pus under the gumline.


What are the possible effects of untreated periodontal disease?

Letting your gum disease go untreated is the primary reason for tooth loss.  Not only that, but there is also reliable evidence that gum disease greatly increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and pregnancy complications.


How to avoid periodontal disease?

Prevention of gingivitis comes down to maintaining a basic, daily oral care routine. A twice-daily routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash prevents odor-causing bacteria from taking hold in the mouth.

Seeing your dentist at least once every six months is a great way to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Professional cleanings and routine exams can prevent most oral health issues like gum disease. Your dentist or hygienist is capable of spotting signs of gum disease before you are.

Don’t live with gum disease because good oral health is vital to your body’s overall wellness! A beautiful, healthy smile leads to a richer, more satisfied lifestyle. Schedule your consultation today.