Gum disease is an infection of the gums, which, untreated, can spread to the teeth and jaw bone, eventually leading to tooth loss. At first glance, you might not think these two health issues connected. Recent studies, however, show that there is a link.
InflammationSwelling in the blood stream leads to hardened arteries. This condition impacts the ability of blood to flow properly through the veins.
Swelling of the gums is a sign of gum disease. Not only is blood flow impeded through the gums, preventing proper oxygen and nutrient transfer, swollen gums have pulled away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to get below the gum line.
Spread of BacteriaIn advanced stages of gum disease, the bacteria that has fallen below the gum line can spread to other areas. It gets into the teeth and even into the jawbone. Once in the jawbone, it can spread into the bloodstream. Once there, it can trigger inflammation where ever it travels, as well as cause harm to the blood vessels. Individuals who have high cholesterol levels, as well as gum disease, are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Both issues require treatment. Gum disease, when properly treated, gets rid of the bacteria hiding under the gums, in the teeth and in the bone. This prevents bacteria from traveling throughout the body. It is important to take care of both your mouth as well as your heart and body.
After periodontal treatment, proper oral hygiene is required to maintain oral health, lowering future risk of developing new gum disease. Cholesterol levels can be lowered with doctor intervention. A healthy diet and exercise, both of which can also aid in gum health, can help as well.
Regular dental visits are crucial to finding gum disease early, therefore preventing it from getting worse. In turn, this can aid in the rest of your body staying healthy. It is important to discuss your other health issues with your dentist. If you suspect gum disease, contact our office right away.