Lots of people think that dentistry is all about teeth, but any dentist will tell you that understanding oral health completely involves so much more than that. In fact, a lot of modern dental research is focused on an apparent connection between infections in the mouth and in the rest of the body.
In particular, there seems to be a strong correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular problems. If you want to know more about this link, here’s how the two appear to be connected.
What the Science Shows
It may not be immediately apparent how gum disease could lead to higher blood pressure, but if the science is to be believed, there’s actually a very strong correlation. One analysis of recent data found that people with gum disease could be as much as 20% more likely to contract heart disease. In response to these data, both the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association have acknowledged a profound link between these two conditions.
Why Does This Happen?
While the connection between gum disease and heart health has been solidly established, it hasn’t been conclusively proven why one leads to the other. The leading theory is that bacteria can potentially seep under the gums and into the rest of the body.
Once those bacteria have entered the bloodstream, they can begin to form plaque deposits in the arteries, leading to an increase in blood pressure. And, as you probably know, blocked arteries and high blood pressure can potentially lead to a higher risk of heart disease.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Now that you know the effects that gum disease can have on your heart, you probably want to do everything you can to prevent it. Here are some things you can do to keep your gums, and heart, in good shape:
- See your dentist biannually. They can check you for any signs of gum disease, and treat you if necessary.
- Cut back on sweets and other foods that can feed bacteria in the mouth.
- Brush twice a day and floss daily to break up plaque deposits.
About Our Practice
At Advanced Dental Arts NW, we know that many modern dental practices treat their patients like a name and a number, which is why we’re happy to be a breath of fresh air! We’ll get to know you on a personal level, understand your needs, and create a customized treatment plan tailored specifically to you. We also work with a gentle touch, ensuring that you’ll feel comfortable through every part of the treatment.
If you have any questions about how gum disease can affect your overall health, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (503) 966-2528.