How Your Dental Health Can Impact Your Heart Health
Dr. Michael Bixby is a leading dentist in Red Bank, offering patients comprehensive general dentistry services with a focus on total wellness. By focusing on dental health as well as smile aesthetics, you can have a great smile that lasts for years and years.
With that in mind, we want to consider how your general wellness may be affected by dental problems. You may be surprised to learn what dental problem can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your Dental Health Can Impact Your General Wellness
There are many ways that issues with general health and wellness can affect your dental health and vice versa. It should come as no surprise that different aspects of health and wellness are linked, which is just another compelling reason why you should be attentive when it comes to all aspects of your overall wellness.
In this case, we should look at gum disease (periodontal disease), which is a leading cause and indicator of a number of health and wellness issues.
About Periodontal Disease
Gum disease refers to infections of the gum tissue caused by the oral bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. This is the same bacteria that is responsible for bad breath, tooth decay, and root canal infections.
There are three stages of gum disease:
- Advanced periodontitis
Early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, discolored gums, and irritated gums. In more advanced stages of gum disease, patients may experience gum recession, swollen gums, misalignment of the teeth, and even tooth loss.
How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Heart Health
Studies have found that people who suffer from periodontal health issues run an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are two common explanations for this:
- The bacteria responsible for gum disease may travel through a patient's blood stream and contribute to the build up of plaque in the arteries
- The oral bacteria can cause your liver to produce certain proteins as a response, resulting in inflammation of the blood vessels
Gum Disease and Tobacco Products
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that gum disease is more likely in people who smoke or use smokeless tobacco. They're more prone to infection, and hence more likely to experience gum disease. The combination of smoking and gum disease can lead to a much higher risk of cardiovascular health issues.
Treatments for Gum Disease
It's always best for gum disease to be treated sooner rather than later to ensure it does not cause major damage to your gumline. The most common early treatments for gum disease involve the use of antiseptic rinses and antibiotic medications, both of which help manage the oral bacteria causing the infection.
Once the gum disease is cleared up, dentists can focus on restorative procedures that help rebuild the gumline and address tooth decay and other problems related to the gum disease.
Tips for Preventing Gum Disease
The best ways to prevent gum disease are to practice good oral hygiene. Consider the following tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss your teeth at least once a day (ideally after every meal)
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Avoid using tobacco products
- Visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and maintenance
Contact the Michael Bixby Center for Advanced Dentistry
To learn more about how your dental health can affect your general wellness, be sure to contact our advanced dental care center today. Dr. Michael Bixby and his team will work with you to ensure optimal dental health and a beautiful smile as well.