According to research released earlier this year, patients with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. If patients have high cholesterol, it may put them at an even greater risk. Considering that currently more than 200 million adults have some form of periodontal disease and 85 million have some form of cardiovascular disease in the U.S., it couldn’t be more important than now to address this link.
While researchers are still confirming the exact cause of this link, they know one thing for sure: it’s been firmly established that a link exists between periodontal disease and heart disease. Today, we’ll discuss the research and how to treat periodontal disease.
Understanding Oral Bacteria’s Role in Causing Heart Disease
The main connection that ties heart disease and periodontal disease is the bacteria that causes both. Scientists suspect that bacteria found in gum tissue also breaks down the barrier between your gums and underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation. This allows bacteria to enter through the bloodstream and access other parts of the body.
Over time, the bacteria contribute to the formation of cardiovascular disease. It’s the reason so many medical professionals across the country are telling their patients to take better care of their oral health. An unhealthy mouth only puts you at risk for seemingly unrelated diseases.
How the Body is Harming Itself
Scientists are largely pointing to inflammation as the root of the problem. Inflammation, or swelling, is how the body typically responds to infection. However, when oral bacteria travels through the body, it triggers a similar response that creates arterial plaque.
Furthermore, oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis, a disease where fat buildup collects on artery walls. These deposits narrow the walls over time and can eventually break loose and create a blockage, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
How Do I Catch and Treat Periodontal Disease?
If you suspect you have periodontal disease, take a moment to look over the symptoms commonly associated with it:
- Red, swollen, tender or painful gums
- Receding gums or gums that pull away from the mouth, creating the appearance of longer teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Persistent bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Mouth sores
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating tough foods
The first step to removing periodontal treatment is always through an accurate diagnosis from your dentist in Coeur d’Alene. Make sure you visit your dentist every 6 months as the signs of periodontal disease are often unnoticeable until it’s too late. Your dentist can catch the symptoms early with professional dental tools and medical devices.
Not sure if you have periodontal disease? Do yourself a favor and ask for your dentist’s professional opinion. Schedule an appointment with them today to confirm the status of your heart health!
About the Author
Dr. Filip Orban earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry before becoming licensed to practice in Idaho and Washington State. His gum disease treatments, including professional cleanings, scaling, root planing, and topical antibiotics therapy are the most ideal solutions for periodontal disease. To learn more about his practice, contact him at (208) 667-1546 or visit his website.