Gum disease is a condition that affects the gums and the tissues around the teeth that support them. Its other name is periodontal disease. And it is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, which can contribute to infection and inflammation. It is a severe condition that, if left untreated, can cause recession of the gums, tooth loss, and jawbone injury. Some symptoms are bleeding or swollen gums, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. Regular dental hygiene practices can aid in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. Such as brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a general term for several disorders that impact the heart. Such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and stroke. It occurs when the blood vessels that supply the heart become narrowed or obstructed, resulting in decreased blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.
What Is the Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease?
Numerous studies have discovered evidence of a link between gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and heart disease. The following are some significant research findings:
- Inflammation and Atherosclerosis: Gum disease is connected with chronic inflammation. And inflammation plays a crucial role in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). According to studies, the bacteria that causes this can enter the bloodstream and cause blood vessel inflammation, promoting plaque development and narrowing of the arteries.
- Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Events: Several studies have found that people with gum disease have a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. According to a meta-analysis of observational studies, people with periodontal disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without gum disease.
- Shared Risk Factors: Both of them share risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, and obesity. These risk factors can raise the likelihood of both problems, and those with gum disease are likelier to have other heart disease risk factors.
- Bacterial Influence: Certain bacteria found in gum disease, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, have been discovered in atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries of heart disease patients. This raises the possibility that oral bacteria play a role in the development or progression of heart disease.
Although these results indicate a link between these two, it is crucial to emphasize that this connection is complicated and that further research is required to confirm causality and comprehend the underlying mechanisms. However, maintaining good dental hygiene, controlling gum disease, and addressing common risk factors can improve cardiovascular health.
Gum Disease Prevention
Practicing proper dental hygiene and making specific lifestyle choices can prevent it. Here are some recommendations to help prevent it:
- Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily: Brush your teeth for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay close attention to all tooth surfaces, including the gum line.
- Floss Daily: Use dental floss or interdental cleaners to clean between your teeth and along your gum line. This aids in removing plaque and food particles that brushing alone may not reach.
- Use an Antimicrobial Mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing and flossing. This can aid in the bacterial reduction and plaque control.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: Limit your intake of starchy and sugary foods since they can hasten plaque development. Instead, eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in vitamins and minerals to promote the health of your gums.
- Avoid Tobacco Products: Smoking and tobacco use can increase the risk of gum disease. However, quitting smoking impacts gum health and lowers the risk of having gum issues.
- Schedule Frequent Dental Visits: Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are crucial for the early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Your dentist can also offer personalized advice and recommendations for maintaining good oral health.
Remember that when it comes to gum disease, prevention is vital. Taking these precautions and practicing proper oral hygiene can dramatically lower your risk of developing gum disease and preserve a healthy smile. Call us at Smile Dental or book an appointment online if you live in St. Clair, Toronto and have any questions!