Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral health issue that develops as a result of a bacterial infection in your mouth. It is commonly thought to be a condition that only affects the health of your gums. The truth, however, is that periodontal disease can impact the health of your jawbone, your teeth, and even your heart. If you have developed periodontal disease, Shenandoah Family Dentistry can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health and protect the health of your heart.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Plaque and bacteria both occur naturally in your mouth. Throughout the day, they accumulate. These substances, while natural, can cause your gum tissue to become irritated. This irritation triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system, causing your gums to swell. Red, swollen tissue begins to pull away from your teeth and periodontal pockets form. Bacteria and other debris get trapped in these pockets and continue to attack your gums. Eventually, the bacteria reach your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. Bacteria can also get into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
There are many symptoms that can point to periodontal disease. The symptoms you experience depend upon how advanced the condition is. Symptoms include:
Periodontal Disease and Your Heart
When bacteria get into your bloodstream, they can travel throughout your body. These bacteria trigger an inflammatory response, which causes your blood vessels to swell. When this happens, your arteries can become clogged, which restricts blood flow. Your body has to work harder to pump blood. This can result in hypertension or high blood pressure. Clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related issues. Bacteria in your heart can also lead to an infection called endocarditis. This is when the lining inside of the heart becomes inflamed.
How Heart Disease Affects Dental Care
Part of your dental exam also includes going over your medical history. If you have heart disease, it is essential that we know this information. This is because heart disease can affect how we can perform certain dental procedures. It may be necessary, before undergoing certain treatments, that you receive pretreatment with antibiotics to reduce your risk for developing infections and other complications.
Maintaining a Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Heart
Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing the development of periodontal disease. The ADA recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. It is also recommended that you have your teeth cleaned and examined at least twice a year. Good oral hygiene helps to protect the health of your mouth and the health of your heart. You can also protect your heart health by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and visiting your physician regularly.
Taking care of your mouth is essential not just for protecting your oral health, but the health of your whole body, including the health of your heart. If you have any questions, contact Shenandoah Family Dentistry today at (540) 667-8731.