Did you know that according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of systemic, whole-body diseases like diabetes, leukemia, and cancer present some symptoms in the mouth? Conversely, those with an oral infection are 40% more likely to develop other chronic overall health conditions. Recently, researchers have begun to focus on an oral infection known as gum disease and how it may be influencing the cardiovascular system. With nearly half of all American adults suffering from some form of this common oral health issue, it’s crucial to explore its connection to our overall wellbeing. Here’s everything your dentist in Las Cruces wants you to know about the relationship between your gums and your heart.
Connecting Gum Disease to Heart Health
A whopping 70% of tooth loss is due to gum disease. However, the effects of this common condition don’t stop at your smile. Recent studies suggest that this oral infection can increase the risk of heart disease by 20%. Although more research is needed, health experts point to two main factors as the culprits behind this connection:
- Bacterial infection: Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection caused by a buildup of plaque along the gumline. As the infection grows, the dangerous bacteria will begin to attack and cause permanent damage to the gums, jawbone, and connective tissues that hold the teeth in place. Experts believe that if this harmful bacteria escapes into the bloodstream it can cause endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart’s inner linings.
- Inflammation. The natural immune response to an infection is inflammation. Experts suggest that an extended reaction to gum disease may allow inflammation to spread throughout the body. Although the connection is not fully understood, studies indicate that this can lead to clogged arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.
Gum Disease Prevention and Treatment
Even if the connection to heart health is still unclear, gum disease should be diagnosed and treated by your dentist right away. To remove the infection, they may use a deep cleaning method known as scaling and root planning. This allows them to clean out the bacteria underneath the gumline and smooth out the tooth roots to hinder reinfection. In more severe cases, antibiotics or surgery may be needed to fully eliminate the issue.
Thankfully, you can easily reverse or prevent gum disease with great oral hygiene. A simple yet effective routine of brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing each of your teeth daily, and getting a dental checkup and cleaning from your dentist in Las Cruces every six months can treat the earliest symptoms before they become larger health issues. With the right oral healthcare, you can keep your whole body happy and healthy!
About the Practice
With regular and effective dental cleanings and checkups every six months, our team of skilled dentists at Painted Skies Dental Center in Las Cruces, NM aims to stop gum disease before it even starts. However, should you develop an infection in your gum tissue, we offer a range of comfortable, effective, and advanced periodontal disease treatments. If you’re concerned about gum disease, don’t hesitate to contact us at our website or (575) 521-8720.