Did you know that there is a connection between gum disease (periodontitis) and heart problems? If not, then your dentist in Upper Arlington will reveal how these two conditions, that don’t seem to have much in common, are very much connected. And as you read on, you’ll also learn how your oral hygiene and semi-annual visits for preventive dentistry are more important for your overall wellness than you may have ever thought.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that arises from the continued growth of bacteria over time. It progresses through stages, each one causing more severe damage to the health of your mouth, teeth, gums and other parts of your body. The following will discuss how the disease progresses through its different phases:
- Gingivitis – This is the first stage of gum disease and the only phase where the damages are reversible. You may notice red, puffy and tender gums that easily bleed, and your dentist may recommend changes in your oral hygiene practices or a prescription mouthwash that contains an antibiotic called chlorhexidine to stop the bacteria.
- Moderate Gum Disease – If you don’t act in time, you run the risk of the disease advancing farther and permanently damaging the connective fibers and bones that hold your teeth in place. Your dentist may recommend a scaling and root planning procedure to remove the bacteria that have gotten into your gum pockets and clean the roots of your teeth.
- Advanced Gum Disease – Severe negligence will lead to the destruction of your connective fibers and bone, leaving your teeth susceptible to falling out. At this point, the options are far more limited but much more invasive, one being to extract the tooth.
How Does Gum Disease Relate to Heart Problems?
Whenever there is an infection in your body, it causes inflammation. Thus, given that the blood in your gums flows down through your heart, if it’s infected, then its effects will be registered in the heart as well. The inflammation, then, causes arterial plaque to develop in the arteries, which inhibits the flow of vital nutrients and oxygen that the heart needs to function properly. Therefore, a severe case of gum disease could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
The primary ways to prevent gum disease are to:
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene, which involves brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day to remove leftover food particles and bacteria.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. The former will ensure that built-up plaque and tartar will be removed, and the latter will allow your oral expert to keep a keen eye on your dental health and halt any impending issues.
So now you know that when you treat your mouth, teeth and gums with care, you are actually taking a bold step toward improving the wellness of your entire body. If you have other questions or feel compelled to take charge of your overall health, just reach out to your dentist today.
About the Author
Dr. Angela Courtney earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and continued her studies at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. A passionate dentist who constantly strives for perfection, Dr. Courtney practices at Artistry Smile Center and can be reached for more information through her website.