Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can affect more than just oral health. There are many studies showing that people with gum disease also have significantly high rates of developing cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke. While scientists continue to research the theory, it has been recognized that there is a strong relationship between gum disease and heart attacks.
Heart attacks are considered the most common medical condition in the general population. It is also known that heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. On the other hand, many researchers have found that gum disease affects nearly half of American adults over the age of 30. Because the two conditions similarly affect the population, the idea that gum disease links to heart attacks is prevalent. During a study that was conducted in 2012, known as PAROKRANK, researchers evaluated a group of dental patients to back up the theory. The results showed that 43% of heart attack patients also suffered from gum disease. They also found that people with gum disease had a 50% higher chance of a heart attack than those without.
When it comes to the link between gum disease and heart attacks, inflammation caused by bacteria may be the culprit. It is understood that the common factor between gum disease and heart attacks include the same type of bacterial infection. The bacteria found in gum disease produces inflammation in other areas of the mouth when left untreated. By continuing to live with this condition, the bacteria can eventually spread to other parts of the body. Infection caused by gum disease can easily enter the bloodstream through everyday activities, such as brushing, flossing, and chewing food. As the bacteria spreads throughout the body, it can eventually reach the circulatory system, causing blood vessels to swell and increasing the risk of blood clots and heart attack. Because inflammation is the body’s instant response mechanism, the inflammation can cause the formation of plaque. It is known that the existence of excess plaque can cause the clogging of arteries, similar to how it causes tooth decay.
With the proper care and consistent follow-up with your dentists, the possible health risks of gum disease can be avoided. Everyday care is essential to keeping the signs of gum disease at bay. Continuing to correctly brush and floss each day as well as avoiding alcohol and tobacco can prevent gum disease from forming. Regular cleanings and dental visits can also help with early diagnosis of gum disease. During dental appointments, your dentist can evaluate and measure the gums for inflammation, build-up, and possible bone loss.
The bottom line is that prevention and treatment of gum disease can ultimately save our bodies from further health conditions, such as heart attacks. That is why it’s important to contact your dentist if you suffer from any of the related symptoms:
* Red, swollen, tender gums
* Bleeding gums after brushing, flossing, or eating
* Receding gums
* Loose or separating teeth
* Pus surrounding the gums
* Mouth sores
* Bad bread
* A change in bite
Gum disease has been debated as a possible cause of heart attacks for many years. While research continues to be conducted on the direct link, it’s best to take the proactive steps to beat the possibility