How Your Heart Is Affected By The Health Of Your Gums

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HEART DISEASE IS LINKED TO GUM DISEASE
A healthy mouth is bigger than just stopping tooth decay and having a great-looking smile — healthy gums means a healthier heart. The AAP (the American Academy of Periodontology) is watching current research studies on the correlation between periodontal problems and heart disease. Even though periodontal disease doesn’t cause heart disease, there is research to indicate that the two are connected. Beyond heart disease, periodontal disease is linked to diabetes, strokes, and some cancers. This means that healthy teeth and gums can affect general health. The board-certified team of dental professionals at DentalWorks – Crystal Lake offer treatments for gingivitis and periodontitis. Read on for more information about the cause and symptoms of periodontal disease, as well as how to treat and prevent gum problems.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the soft tissue of your mouth. Periodontal disease develops when the sticky bacteria known as plaque builds up on your enamel. Plaque is formed when starches and sugars combine with saliva. The formation of plaque is normal and happens all the time. However, the plaque will normally be removed when you floss, brush, and go to your dentist for twice yearly cleanings. If it isn’t fully removed, plaque can turn into hardened tartar on your enamel. The two together (tartar and plaque) start problems including the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include inflammed, red gums that bleed after flossing or brushing. If it isn’t identified and addressed, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. The next stage of periodontal disease, periodontitis will cause gumline recession, which makes your teeth loose. Without proper treatment, the problem can spread to the rest of your mouth (teeth and jawbone) and your body if it gets into your blood.

SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL PROBLEMS
Periodontal (gum) disease is more common than you might realize. Close to half of adults in the United States show periodontal problems. Since the earliest symptoms of periodontal disease are small and not painful, it’s not easy for you to recognize. The easiest way to make sure you don’t have gum problems is to schedule professional cleanings and exams at a dentist in Crystal Lake, IL. It’s also important to know what signs to watch for, so you can get in to see your dentist earlier if you’re concerned. The earliest signs of gingivitis are red, swollen, or tender gums that bleed after you floss or brush. Halitosis (chronic bad breath) is also a hint that you should get an examination at your dentist. An advanced sign is a sore or pus between your gums and teeth. You might also see a brownish colored buildup of hard deposits just above your gumline on your teeth. If you see your gumline is rising or your teeth are loose, make an appointment to see your dentist immediately for an examination.

YOUR OPTIONS FOR TREATING GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTITIS
The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is usually treated with at least one scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure. During a scaling and root planing procedure, your dentist will use a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup out of your gum pockets. After the scaling is complete, they will smooth (plane) the enamel to decrease crevices and rough surfaces where plaque and tartar typically gets trapped. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics following your scaling and root planing procedure to get rid of any additional bacteria. If your condition has become periodontitis, your dentist might suggest periodontal surgery so they can address deeper sections of your gums.

TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID GUM DISEASE
Strong gums are the basis of a great smile. If you’d like to avoid dealing with the long-term consequences or symptoms of periodontal disease, there are many actions to decrease your risk:

  • ORAL HEALTH EXAMS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
    Schedule appointments at your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and an oral health exam. Dental exams give your dentist the opportunity to look for problems like gingivitis when it first appears so it’s less difficult to repair. Cleanings address tartar and plaque, which you can have trouble reaching on your own. Frequent trips to a dentist can help you avoid periodontal disease as well as decreasing your chance of developing heart disease by receiving oral health exams and cleanings. If you have dental fears that make it difficult to go to regular appointments, our practice in Crystal Lake, IL offers several sedation dentistry techniques to make you feel calm so you don’t avoid these crucial appointments.
  • QUIT SMOKING
    Adults who use tobacco products (smoking, vaping, or chewing) are much more likely to have dental problems, which is why quitting immediately can lower your chance of developing periodontal disease as well as mouth cancer. For help, ask your doctor about tobacco cessation treatments, such as special gum, patches, as well as medication.
  • VISIT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
    We recommend you schedule an exam at least once a year with your primary care physician to evaluate your health. Your physician will run diagnostic tests to check if you are at risk or have health issues. After reading your results, your physician may suggest ways to improve your health, which can decrease your risk of developing periodontal disease. Common recommendations are watching your cholesterol, being at a healthy weight, and treating your health issues will decrease your chances of getting periodontal disease.
  • IMPROVE YOUR HABITS AND LIFESTYLE
    If you eat a healthy diet that minimize the consumption of sugary and processed foods, you can stop the formation of tartar and plaque on your enamel, which decreases your risk of developing any oral health disease. Lowering your level of stress and following a regular exercise routine may also decrease your risk of getting gum disease.

KEEP YOUR GUMS AND HEART HEALTHY
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your gums. Choose a dentist you trust and visit at least two times every year to prevent periodontal disease. Our practice in Crystal Lake, IL has board-certified professionals who focus on diagnosing and reversing periodontal disease. Prevent periodontal disease by getting a dental examination along with following an oral care routine at home so you have an attractive smile.