Gum disease is a serious oral health condition. If left untreated, it can result in the loss of one or more of your teeth, along with a number of other serious complications that will require costly, invasive treatment. It is important to get treatment at the first sign of gum disease in order to avoid bigger issues down the road.
Gum disease doesn’t just affect your oral health. Whether it’s a minor case of gingivitis or a more advanced case of periodontal disease, you may have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. And the team at West Lafayette Dental Studio wants to keep our patients informed about the connection between gum health and heart health:
According to a study performed by the Hitkarini Dental College and Hospital’s Department of Periodontics, heart disease affects patients who have gum disease at a dramatically higher rate than those who don’t. If you ask most dentists why they think this link exists between gum health and heart health, they’ll answer with one word: Inflammation.
One of the primary symptoms of gum disease, even in minor cases of gingivitis, is inflammation. This is a natural reaction when the gums become infected due to the buildup of bacterial plaque. The gums swell, become more sensitive, and bleed easily.
Your gums are extremely sensitive tissue, filled with very small blood vessels and capillaries. When inflammation occurs due to bacterial infections, this bacteria can enter your bloodstream, and spread throughout your body.
If this affects blood vessels in critical arteries, such as those found in and near the heart, a condition called “vasculitis” may occur. The blood vessels can weaken or even become constricted and weaken blood flow. According to many doctors and dentists, this may be the primary method by which gum disease increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In addition to the inflammatory reactions caused by gum disease, the increased risk of heart disease may also be related to the lifestyle factors that often present in people with serious periodontal disease.
Patients who have advanced cases of periodontitis may have other less-than-ideal health habits. They may smoke or use other tobacco products, have a poor diet, overuse alcohol, or have diabetes. All of these conditions can contribute to the severity of both gum disease and a heart attack. This means that patients who have gum disease and also conform to the above risk factors may have an even higher risk of developing a serious heart condition.
More than half of all American adults have some form of gum disease. While many of these cases are minor and reversible, they can progress into a more severe, incurable case of periodontitis if they are not treated in time.
Protect both your oral health and your heart health by getting proper periodontal treatment from Dr. Ventresca. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call at (765) 588-0085, or drop by West Lafayette Dental Studio at 500 Sagamore Parkway West, Suite 5W, West Lafayette, IN 47906.
500 Sagamore Pkwy West
West Lafayette, IN 47906