How Does Gum Disease Affect the Heart?
How Does Gum Disease Affect the Heart?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a condition that affects the gum tissue and bone found around the teeth. It is caused by plaque build-up due to poor oral hygiene and can lead to gum recession, tooth loss, and even systemic problems such as cardiovascular disease if left untreated. In this article, we’ll explore the link between gum disease and heart health and look at how gum disease can affect your overall health and well-being.
In this article, we will be looking at how gum disease can affect the heart in particular and discussing ways in which you can manage your gum health for optimal dental and cardiac health.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue which can cause swelling, bleeding, irritation, and other symptoms. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation of the gum tissue and bones around your teeth. This condition is referred to as periodontitis. Periodontal diseases are caused by plaque build-up due to poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing regularly or flossing properly. When gum disease progresses into periodontitis, it can lead to tooth loss and an increased risk for systemic issues, including
How Does Gum Disease Affect Heart Health?
It’s widely known that oral bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream through inflamed or bleeding gums; however, many people don’t know that gum disease can have an effect on the heart as well. Research has shown that gum disease increases your risk for several cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries, which can lead to a narrowing of the arteries and a decrease in blood flow. When gum disease is present, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through inflamed or bleeding gums; these bacteria are then carried throughout the body via circulation and eventually settle in the lining of arterial walls. This process damages the arterial walls and leads to an accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) which narrows the artery, leading to decreased blood flow and increasing your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Research has also found that gum disease increases your risk for stroke as well. Studies have shown that gum disease significantly increases the risk of developing both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes are caused by blocked arteries due to plaque build-up, while hemorrhagic strokes are caused by weakened blood vessel walls that can burst. The presence of gum disease in the mouth can contribute to the weakening of arterial walls throughout the body, increasing your risk for stroke.
Gum disease has also been associated with an increased risk of heart attack as well. When oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the heart. This inflammation can damage the coronary arteries and lead to plaque build-up, which narrows the artery, reducing blood flow and increasing your risk of having a heart attack.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
Since gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for several cardiovascular conditions, it is important to practice good gum health habits in order to reduce your risk. Here are some tips on how you can maintain good gum health:
Brush Twice Daily
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums, reducing the chances of gum disease developing or progressing. Be sure to use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride to help remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
Floss Once A Day
Flossing once a day helps remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from between your teeth which can help reduce gum inflammation and gum disease. Use an interdental brush or dental floss regularly to keep your gums healthy.
Avoid Tobacco Products
Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco increase the risk of gum disease due to their negative effect on the gum tissue. If you currently use tobacco products, it is recommended that you quit reducing your risk of gum disease and other health issues.
In conclusion, gum disease can increase your risk for several cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack. To reduce your risk, it is essential to practice good gum health habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and avoiding tobacco products.
A: Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque build-up around the teeth. It is typically characterized by swollen or bleeding gums and bad breath.
A: Gum disease increases your risk for several cardiovascular issues, including atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack, due to bacteria entering the bloodstream via inflamed or bleeding gums and settling in the lining of arterial walls.
A: To reduce your risk for gum disease, it is important to practice good gum health habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and avoiding tobacco products. It is also recommended that you visit your dentist regularly so they can spot any gum issues early on.