The Link Between Gum and Heart Disease
HOW HEART DISEASE AND OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS ARE LINKED TO GUM DISEASE
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is bigger than just stopping tooth decay and having a beautiful smile — healthy gums means a healthier heart. The AAP (the American Academy of Periodontology) is watching current research studies on the correlation between periodontal problems and heart disease. Even though periodontal disease doesn't cause heart disease, there is research to indicate that the two are connected. Beyond heart disease, periodontal disease is linked to certain cancers, strokes, and diabetes. This means that good oral health can affect general health. The skilled team of professionals at DentalWorks - Willoughby offer treatments for gingivitis and periodontitis. Read on for more information about what causes periodontal disease and the symptoms, as well as prevention tips and common treatments.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the soft tissue of your mouth. Periodontal disease develops when the sticky bacteria known as plaque builds up on your enamel. Plaque is formed when starches and sugars combine with saliva. The formation of plaque is normal and happens all the time. However, the plaque will normally be removed when you floss, brush, and go to your dentist for twice yearly cleanings. If it isn't fully removed, plaque can turn into hardened tartar on your enamel. The two together (tartar and plaque) start problems including the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include swollen, red gums that bleed after flossing or brushing. If it isn't identified and addressed, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. The next stage of periodontal disease, periodontitis will cause a receding gumline, which makes your teeth loose. Without proper treatment, the problem can spread to the rest of your mouth (teeth and jawbone) and your body if it gets into your blood.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL PROBLEMS
Gingivitis and periodontitis, the two stages of gum disease are more common than you might realize. Close to half of adults in the United States show periodontal problems. Since the earliest symptoms of periodontal disease are small and not painful, it's not easy for you to recognize. The easiest way to make sure you don't have gum problems is to go to professional cleanings and exams at a dentist in Willoughby, OH. It's also important to know what signs to watch for, so you can get in to see your dentist earlier if you're concerned. The earliest signs of gingivitis are inflamed, red, and tender gums that bleed after you floss or brush. Halitosis (chronic bad breath) is also a hint that you should get an examination at your dentist. An advanced sign is a sore or pus between your gums and teeth. You might also see a brownish colored buildup of hard deposits just above your gumline on your teeth. If you see your gumline is rising or your teeth are loose, go to your dentist immediately for an examination.
YOUR OPTIONS FOR TREATING GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTITIS
Patients with gingivitis can usually be treated with at least one scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure. During a scaling and root planing procedure, your dentist will use a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup out of your gum pockets. After the scaling is complete, they will smooth (plane) the enamel to decrease crevices and rough surfaces where plaque and tartar typically gets trapped. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics following your scaling and root planing procedure to get rid of any additional bacteria. If your condition has become periodontitis, your dentist might suggest periodontal surgery so they can address deeper sections of your gums.
TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID GUM DISEASE
Strong gums are the basis of a dazzling smile. If you'd like to avoid dealing with the long-term consequences or symptoms of periodontal disease, there are plenty of actions to make sure your mouth is healthy:
- QUIT SMOKING
Adults who use tobacco products (smoking, vaping, or chewing) are much more likely to have dental problems, which is why quitting immediately can lower your chance of developing periodontal disease as well as mouth cancer. For help, ask your doctor about tobacco cessation treatments, such as special gum, patches, as well as medication.
- ORAL HEALTH EXAMS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
Schedule appointments at your dentist twice a year for a dental exam and cleanings. Dental exams give your dentist the opportunity to find problems like gingivitis when it first appears so it's less difficult to repair. Cleanings address tartar and plaque, which you can have trouble getting on your own. Frequent trips to a dentist can help you avoid periodontal disease as well as decreasing your risk of developing heart disease by receiving cleanings and exams. If you have dental fears that make it difficult to go to regular appointments, our practice in Willoughby, OH offers several sedation dentistry techniques to make sure you are calm so you stop avoiding these crucial cleanings and exams.
- IMPROVE YOUR HABITS AND LIFESTYLE
If you eat a healthy diet that minimize the consumption of sugary and processed foods, you can stop the formation of tartar on your enamel, which decreases your risk of developing any oral health disease. Lowering your level of stress and following a regular exercise routine may also decrease your risk of getting heart and gum disease.
- VISIT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
We recommend you schedule an exam at least once a year with your primary care physician to evaluate your health. Your physician will run diagnostic tests to check if you are at risk or have health issues. After reading your results, your physician may give you suggestions to improve your health, which can decrease your risk of developing periodontal disease. Common recommendations are watching your cholesterol, being at a healthy weight, and treating your health issues will decrease your chances of getting gum problems.
KEEP YOUR GUMS AND HEART HEALTHY
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your gums. Choose a dentist you trust and visit at least two times every year to prevent periodontal disease. Our practice in Willoughby, OH has board-certified professionals who focus on diagnosing and reversing periodontal disease. Avoid periodontal disease by getting a dental examination along with following an oral care routine at home so you have a beautiful smile.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.