Can Gum Health Affect Your Heart Health? The Answer May Surprise You.
Periodontal disease is unpleasant, to say the least. It can also be very dangerous for your oral and overall health. Left unchecked, diseases such as gingivitis can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, infection, tooth loss, and even heart problems.
It’s true! Periodontal disease can seriously affect the health of your heart and cardiovascular system. There are recent studies showing a similar link between diabetes and oral health. Because of this, it’s crucial to get your 6-month check-ups from Austin dentist, Cynthia L Graves, DDS. Regular visits allow dentists to monitor periodontal diseases, and help prevent them all together. But how exactly does your gum health affect your heart health?
The Gum-Heart Connection
Though there is some debate on the subject, most dentists agree there is a link between gum disease and cardiovascular issues. A landmark 2010 analysis of dozens of individual studies showed that advanced periodontal disease was correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues such as stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. But why?
The Answer Is Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the primary symptoms of gum disease. As plaque builds up on your gums and hardens into tartar, your gums respond by swelling and bleeding.
Your gums are full of tiny blood vessels, and once inflammation occurs, bacteria can easily get into your bloodstream, causing inflammation elsewhere in your body. Bacteria such as streptococcus sanguis (well-known for its role in strokes) can be transferred into your bloodstream.
Inflammation of blood vessels in the body also causes a condition known as atherosclerosis – the hardening of arteries that can make it more difficult for blood to flow to the heart. Combined, excess bacteria and inflammation can lead to an increased risk of common cardiovascular problems.
Currently, research indicates this is the primary reason that periodontal disease and unhealthy gums can contribute to the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health issues.
However, there is also another contributing factor. Periodontal disease tends to occur more commonly in folks with sub-par health habits, or lifestyle-based health issues (diabetes, smoking, and poor diets are common contributors to periodontal disease). Because of this, severe cases of gum disease can easily contribute to an already poor level of heart health, potentially triggering a serious heart issue.
Need Periodontal Disease Treatment in Austin? Visit Cynthia Graves, DDS!
Don’t leave your gum health to chance! If you suspect you have gingivitis or periodontitis, it’s crucial to seek treatment right away. Cynthia Graves, DDS specializes in comprehensive dentistry, and the treatment of all forms of periodontal disease. Her years of experience, kind and gentle approach, and dedication to continual education, make her a premier Austin dentist for any oral issue!
Schedule an appointment today by calling (512) 258-8001, contacting us online, or visiting our office at 10418 Lake Creek Pkwy, Austin, TX 78750.