How Can Gum Disease Affect Heart Disease?

How Can Gum Disease Affect Heart Disease?

Brushing your teeth regularly will not only prevent gum problems and keep your teeth sparkling white, but it can also lower the risk of heart disease - says the American Heart Association. So, good oral hygiene maintenance is not essential to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile and ensure optimal physical health and wellbeing. “But how does my oral health status influence my cardiac health?” you might wonder. The American Dental Association (ADA) provides the answer. According to the ADA, our mouth is the gateway to our entire body. If the mouth is unhealthy, it can directly influence the other body organs and cause general health issues.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease: What’s the Link?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, underlying gum and periodontal inflammation may exacerbate existing heart conditions. Not only this, the Harvard Medical School estimates that people with gum disease have a two to a three-fold higher risk of developing heart conditions like stroke or heart attack. While a clear-cut cause-and-effect relationship has not been established, currently available indicates that inflammation is the common link between these two conditions. 

Infective Endocarditis 

When the gums are inflamed, the harmful bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to the body’s different organs - including the heart. If someone has an artificial heart valve, the harmful bacteria from the inflamed gums may penetrate these valves and lead to a serious, potentially life-threatening condition called endocarditis. That is why dentists often prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to people with artificial heart valves who have underlying gum disease. 

Stroke and Heart Attack

Bacteria from the inflamed gums can easily travel to all body organs through the bloodstream. Inside the blood vessels and the heart, they attach to any damaged area and initiate an inflammatory process. This condition is further aggravated in the presence of high cholesterol levels, which promotes the formation of fatty deposits inside the blood vessels - a condition known as atherosclerosis. As these fatty deposits increase in size, they restrict blood flow and may lead to a cardiovascular condition own as stroke. Sometimes, these fatty deposits inside the blood vessels break away and occlude the blood supply to the heart’s blood vessels to cause a heart attack. 

High Blood Pressure 

Underlying gum disease has also been linked with high blood pressure. According to a study published in Hypertension, gum disease tends to interfere with the body’s ability to control blood pressure and also affects the effectiveness of the blood pressure-lowering medication. Consistently high blood pressure levels can directly influence one’s cardiac health and may increase the risk of heart problems. 

The Solution - Prevention and Teeth Cleaning

Researchers have discovered gum disease-causing bacteria inside the fatty deposits inside the blood vessels, suggesting that these bacteria have a direct role in causing heart problems. By simply maintaining optimal oral hygiene, you can prevent yourself from various life-threatening complications.  

A research study presented at one of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions showed that people who did not brush their teeth at least twice each day for less than two minutes had a three times higher risk of developing heart problems. But toothbrushing and flossing alone are sometimes not enough to prevent gum problems. In some cases, you may apparently have healthy gums, but the disease-causing bacteria may already have started wreaking havoc inside your mouth and other body organs. That is why it is essential for you to visit your dentist regularly for checkups. 

Your  dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums at every checkup appointment to detect any signs of underlying inflammation. Your dentist or periodontist will use specialized equipment to see gum problems well before they cause permanent damage. If they find signs of gum inflammation, they will perform professional deep teeth cleaning. This is a procedure in which the dentist uses an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar deposits that harbor disease-causing bacteria, thereby keeping your gums healthy and ensuring that you enjoy good overall health. 

If you are looking for the best dentist in Anthem, AZ, Anthem Dentistry should be your first choice. Our caring and friendly dentist, Dr. Stevenson, is a highly qualified and renowned dentist who has brought smiles to thousands of people living in Anthem and suburbs. So, what are you waiting for? Book an appointment with us today, and let take care of all your dental worries.