Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a very serious oral health condition. Even mild cases of periodontal disease, such as gingivitis, can cause bad breath, lead to inflamed gums, increase the rate of oral decay, and even cause tooth infection or tooth loss.
Not only that, recent research has indicated that periodontal disease may actually increase the risk of potentially fatal issues like heart disease. These studies indicate that individuals with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease.
In this article, Westlake Dental Associates will examine this link closely, and provide you with the information you need, to understand how periodontitis can affect your systemic health, and cause issues like heart disease.
How Does Periodontal Disease Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease?
Although there is still some debate, a landmark 2010 study of patients with advanced periodontitis showed that there is a notable link between heart disease and gum disease.
But how exactly can your gums affect your heart?
Inflammation – The Primary Suspect
Inflammation of the gums is one of the first noticeable symptoms of gum disease like gingivitis. As bacterial plaque builds up on the gums and turns into tartar, the gums become infected and inflamed as a result, and they will swell and bleed.
Your gums are full of tiny capillaries and blood vessels. Once inflammation occurs and these blood vessels are irritated, bacteria can enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation elsewhere in the body.
If blood vessels in your body are inflamed, a condition known as atherosclerosis can occur. In this condition, your arteries harden, making it difficult for blood to flow into the heart. This can result in an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Together, inflammation caused by bacteria and atherosclerosis is thought to be the primary reason that cardiovascular issues are more common in individuals who are in the advanced stages of periodontal disease.
Lifestyle Factors Can Also Contribute To The Risk Heart Disease
Another reason that heart disease may be linked to periodontal disease has to do with a variety of lifestyle factors. Individuals with periodontal disease tend to have sub-par health habits, or suffer from lifestyle-based health issues, such as diabetes, poor diet, smoking, or excessive alcohol use.
These lifestyle factors can contribute both to the development of periodontal disease, and heart disease. Because of this, a severe case of gum disease can serve to exacerbate an existing heart condition, dramatically increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Worried About Your Heart Health? Come To Westlake Dental Associates Today!
If you suspect you may suffer from gum disease, don’t risk going without treatment. For mild cases of gum disease like gingivitis, Dr. Thomas Wuesthoff & Dr. Scott Lundy can help with cleaning and treatment, and provide you with a comprehensive care plan to eliminate your condition.
And if you believe you’re suffering from more advanced stages of gum disease, it’s critical to get help as soon as possible. Your oral health isn’t all that’s at risk, especially if you are already at an increased risk of heart disease.
Come to our modern, patient-centered office today! Our professional team of dentists, hygienists, and administrative staff will make it easy for you to get the treatment you need, and avoid the potentially devastating effects of gum disease on your systemic health.
Call for an appointment at 805-496-4247, or come to our office near Thousand Oaks, at 176 Auburn Ct. Suite 5, Westlake Village, CA 91362!