Do you often hear that good oral health is even more important when you have a history of heart disease?
Researchers have been studying the connection between gum health and heart health.
According to studies, gum disease may increase your risk of developing heart diseases, such as stroke. But how is this possible? Let's go back to gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection affecting tissues in the mouth. It's often caused by plaque buildup.
When the gums become inflamed, the bacteria can reach the bloodstream and make their way to the heart's blood vessels. But according to experts, more studies are needed to understand the connection between gum health and heart health.
While the relationship may not be direct - some people with heart disease may have healthy teeth and people with gum disease may not develop heart disease - the two still share common risk factors.
An unhealthy lifestyle, for instance, may make a person more vulnerable to diseases of both the gums and heart.
The link between gum inflammation and heart inflammation
Gum disease and stroke can both have serious implications if not managed or treated immediately. There are several factors that make them common, and researchers point to inflammation as their most important link.
Inflammation is the body's natural way of protecting us against intruders, which it deems harmful. The body acts to remove potential attackers and this can include bacteria and viruses.
Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup and inflammation. Common symptoms include gum redness and swelling. Dental plaque is a sticky bacteria-laden film that coats the surfaces of the teeth and turns into tartar when not removed.
Heart disease, on the other hand, can also be due to the buildup of plaque inside the arteries. This plaque consists of fat, cholesterol, and waste products, among many others. When they accumulate, the heart arteries narrow down and harden, which can result in clogs, damage, and lack of blood flow to the heart muscles.
Some studies suggest that inflammation in the gums can also impact the heart. That the harmful bacteria from gum disease can also travel to the heart and attach themselves to any weakened or damaged part.
Can treating gum disease reduce the risks of heart disease?
To date, there's no proof that addressing gum disease can also treat or reduce your risks of developing heart disease. But as far as studies are concerned, health experts see this as a reminder of the importance of good oral health.
In addition, if you have heart disease, your doctors may also suggest that you pay more attention to your oral hygiene routine. Be sure to let your dentist know if you have existing health conditions.
Here are some practices to help prevent or reverse early gum disease:
Learn more about maintaining good gum health
While more studies are needed to explore the connection between stroke and gum disease, one thing is true. Both the heart and gums need care and attention to remain healthy.
Gums keep the teeth in place, protect the underlying bone, and serve as a barrier against disease-causing bacteria. They shield deeper parts of the teeth from harmful deposits.
Are you concerned you may have infected gums? Do you have a pre-existing medical condition? If you're looking for a new dentist or would like to have your gums checked, we can help.
Contact us today at (719) 539‑3145. Our friendly receptionists are more than happy to help you book your dental visit.