What’s The Connection Between Your Heart and Gum Disease?


Making sure your mouth stays healthy is about more than just stopping tooth decay and making sure your smile is beautiful — healthy gums means a healthier heart. The AAP (the American Academy of Periodontology) is watching many studies researching the connection between periodontal problems and heart disease. While periodontal disease doesn’t cause or lead to heart disease, there is research to suggest that the two are connected. Beyond heart disease, periodontal disease is linked to certain cancers, diabetes, and strokes. All of this means that a healthy mouth can have a positive effect on general health. The skilled team of board-certified dental professionals at DentalWorks – Brunswick offer treatments for gum disease. Read on for more information about what causes gum disease and what symptoms to watch for, as well as ways to treat and prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammation of the soft tissue holding your teeth. This situation occurs when plaque (a sticky bacteria) builds up on your enamel. Plaque is created when starches and sugars combine with your saliva. This is normal and happens all the time. However, the plaque is typically removed when you floss, brush, and go to your dentist for regular cleanings. If it is not properly removed, plaque becomes a hardened substance known as tartar. The two together (plaque and tartar wreak havoc in your mouth, initiating gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, inflammed gums that bleed easily. If it is not diagnosed and treated, gingivitis turns into periodontitis. A more advanced stage of periodontal disease, periodontitis causes your gumline to rise, which makes your teeth feel loose. Without treatment, the problem can spread to your teeth, jawbone, and eventually, your whole body if it gets into your blood.

Inflammation in the gums (periodontal disease) is more common than you might realize. Nearly half of the adult population suffers from some degree of the condition. Since early symptoms of periodontal disease are often painless, it’s difficult for you to diagnose on your own. The easiest way to make sure you don’t have gum disease is to attend professional cleanings and examinations at a dentist in Brunswick, OH. Also, know what to look for when brushing, so you can stay ahead of the curve and schedule an appointment if you’re concerned. The most common signs of gum disease are swollen, red, or tender gums that bleed after you brush, floss, or eat hard foods. Halitosis (chronic bad breath) is also a clue that something is going on in your mouth and you could use a checkup. An advanced sign is the presence of sore or pus between your teeth and gums. You might also notice a buildup of hard brown deposits at the top of your teeth near the gumline. If you notice that your gumline is receding or your teeth are loose, visit your dentist right away for diagnosis and treatment.

If you have gingivitis, it is often treated with at least one scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure. During a scaling and root planing procedure, your dentist will use a scaling tool to remove buildup from your gum pockets. Then, they will smooth or plane the enamel of the tooth to remove rough surfaces and crevices where buildup often develops. Your dentist may prescribe a round of antibiotics following your scaling and root planing procedure to eliminate any additional bacteria in your gums. If your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, your dentist might recommend periodontal surgery so they can reach deeper sections of your gums than a scaling and root planing treatment.

Strong teeth and gums are the basis of a stunning smile. If you want to avoid dealing with the symptoms or consequences of periodontal disease, there are a few things you can do to improve your gum health:

    If you eat a healthy diet that avoids sugary and processed foods, you can stop the formation of plaque on your enamel, which minimizes your risk of developing gum disease. Reducing your stress levels and following a regular exercise routine may also decrease your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
    Go to your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and an oral health examination. Exams allow your dentist to diagnose problems like gum disease in the early stages so it’s easier to treat. Professional cleanings address tartar and plaque, which you may have trouble getting at home. Regular visits to a trustworthy dentist can help you avoid periodontal disease and greatly reduce your chance of getting heart disease through examinations and cleanings. If you have dental fears or anxieties that keep you from routine appointments, our practice in Brunswick, OH offers several levels of sedation dentistry to help keep you calm and relaxed so you don’t skip these important visits.
    You should schedule an annual exam with your general practitioner to check your overall health. Your physician will perform diagnostics like blood tests to see if you are at risk or have common health issues. Based on your results, your physician may give you recommendations to improve your overall health, which can decrease your risk of oral health problems. For example, controlling your cholesterol, being at a healthy weight, and managing common health issues will decrease your chances of suffering from gingivitis or another oral health condition.
    People who use tobacco (smoking cigars or cigarettes, vaping, or chewing) are seven times for likely to have dental problems, which is why quitting immediately can prevent gingivitis, periodontitis, as well as mouth cancer. For help, ask your doctor about tobacco cessation methods, including gum, nicotine patches, as well as medication.

Protect your heart by improving your oral health. Choose a great dentist and visit their office at least two times every year to avoid periodontal disease and other dental problems. Our practice in Brunswick, OH has board-certified and experienced dental professionals who focus on diagnosing and reversing the varying stages of periodontal disease. Proactively fight against gingivitis and periodontitis by getting a dental examination and then following an oral care routine at home that give you a healthy smile.