Gum Disease and Heart Health: Can it Affect You?
You may have heard recently the claims that there appears to be a link between gum disease, or periodontal disease, and heart attacks and stroke. You may even be more than a little skeptical as to how gum disease can affect your heart health. While the research is still not crystal clear, it appears the finding is definitely worth paying attention to. Here's the latest scoop on gum disease and heart health.
How Does Gum Disease Affect My Heart?
The fact is, experts are divided on the “how” part of the equation, but they do agree on one thing. People with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have issues with their heart health.
One possibility is that oral bacteria enters your bloodstream, and then actually sticks to plaque already in your arteries, making them worse. They do know that the same bacteria that is found in the mouth has also been found in those heart artery plaques.
Another theory is that when oral bacteria enters the bloodstream, it cause an immune system response and increases inflammation in other areas of the body, including your heart.
No matter what theory proves correct, it seems that at the very least, the presence of periodontal disease might be a good indicator that testing for heart problems in a patient might be a good idea.
Am I at risk?
The symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, bad breath or receding gums. Dr. Edvalson at ACE Dental can diagnose whether you have gum disease, or another dental problem.
If you have gum disease, it is worth checking with your doctor to see if you should have some screening tests to rule out heart disease.
What Can I Do?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with gum disease or is at risk for heart disease can take action to decrease their risk. See a dentist and learn how to treat your gum disease. A qualified dental staff such as the one at ACE Dental can take the necessary action to return your teeth and gums to good health.
And even if you aren't at risk now, make sure to continue with regular dental care to prevent problems in the future!