Valentine’s Day isn’t the only notable thing during February. In fact, it’s also American Heart Association Month and Gum Disease Awareness Month. Why do these two matter? The reason is that your gum and heart health are closely connected and when one becomes a problem, you can often find that the other will closely follow. To provide a bit of insight on the connective link and what you can do to stay healthy, hear from a dentist who wants to help you take back control of your oral and overall health.
What Happens to the Heart When Periodontal Disease is Present?
Gum disease is an infection that attacks the soft oral tissue surrounding your teeth and results in redness, inflammation, and bleeding. Also known as periodontal disease, it has multiple stages. If you’re lucky, you and your dentist can reverse the symptoms if you only have the initial phase, which is considered gingivitis. This often produces red, puffy, and minor bleeding of the gums when brushing or flossing.
Unfortunately, if left untreated, gingivitis can quickly progress into periodontitis and lead to increase swelling, gum pocket formations, and increased bone loss due to the infection reaching the jawbone. Over time, this can cause you to lose teeth and develop serious health problems as a result of the infection and inflammation entering the bloodstream. When this happens, your heart, brain, lungs, and other areas of the body can be negatively impacted.
With regard to the heart, inflammation and infection can cause the arteries to harden and result in heart attack, stroke, or a host of other cardiovascular-related problems.
How to Prevent Problems From Developing or Worsening
If you already have gum disease and need help understanding what you can do to keep it from worsening, your dentist will be your greatest ally in this fight. By undergoing periodontal therapy, you will be on track to improve your gum health and keeping your heart in check.
Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist might suggest scaling and root planing, otherwise known as a deep cleaning. This is a process where they will remove any plaque and tartar beneath the gum line as well as smooth out the tooth’s root to encourage proper reattachment. This may need to be performed multiple times over a span of months in order to prevent reinfection. Your dentist may even combine this common procedure with antibiotic therapy to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
If you want to avoid gum disease altogether, make sure that you:
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Keep your regularly scheduled dental checkups and cleanings (twice a year)
- Quit smoking
- Avoid eating too much sugar, as this can create harmful bacteria in the mouth and lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities
Don’t let gum disease take control of your mouth and body. Take the appropriate steps today to take care of your oral health and enjoy life with a beautiful smile and a healthy heart.
About the Practice
Pelican Landing Dental is a family-friendly dental office that strives to make sure our patients are comfortable and receive high-quality dental care. Our team of expert dental professionals offer a wide range of comprehensive services in one convenient location. Dealing with gum disease? We are proud to offer periodontal therapy to help combat this common problem and prevent worsening overall health issues. We want to help you regain control of your teeth and gums and will walk step-by-step with you through the process to achieve better oral health. To learn more, contact us via the website or call (239) 948-2111.