Continuing research has uncovered possible links between infections of the gums and other diseases that affect the body. One of the more recent potential links discovered by research indicates a connection between gum disease and heart (cardiovascular) disease. Some studies indicate that gum disease could be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than other health factors including gender, age, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Although researchers are still trying to figure out the relationships between gum disease and heart disease, studies point to the possibility that people with gum disease have an increased risk of heart attacks. There’s substantial proof that shows that oral health influences overall health but finding links between oral health and certain disease is an ongoing process.
The heart and gum disease
One theory linking gum disease to other health issue states that the bacteria in infected gums may come loose and then move throughout the body, irritating arteries. Research suggests that the bacteria may come loose and enter the bloodstream during normal oral hygiene tasks such as brushing, flossing or even while chewing. The severity of the gum infection can influence the risk of developing heart disease. The more infected the gums, the higher the likelihood that the bacteria will find its way into the blood stream because infected gums bleed carrying the bacteria into the body. Bacteria from gum disease can enter the body through sores or cuts inside the mouth and travel through the bloodstream that way.
When bacteria reach the arteries, it can cause irritation just as they do in the mouth, and this can lead to an accumulation of arterial plaque. Arterial plaque buildup can cause hardening of the arteries and blocked or decreased blood flow. When this hardening compromises blood flow to the heart, it may cause a heart attack. There’s also the risk that arterial plaque may loosen from the arteries and travel through the body, potentially causing a blockage in the brain and possible stroke.
Protecting the heart
To protect the heart and body from the harmful effects of gum disease, it’s vital that people keep their mouths healthy to prevent the development of gum disease. Finding and treating gum disease early is essential, and the best way to do this is through regular dental visits because sometimes there are no visible signs or symptoms of the disease. Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are a sign of gum disease and patients who practice daily oral hygiene will notice these issues immediately. Controlling and reversing gum disease is easier than ever with the new treatments available so patients should never delay dental attention. Preventing plaque buildup with regular brushing and flossing greatly reduces the chances of developing gum disease and professional cleaning removes the plaque that’s harder to see.
Protecting your smile and your heart health is easy when you maintain a regular exam schedule with Chianese Dental.