If you go to the mirror to brush your teeth and notice that your gums bleed easily, your Dublin dentist says don’t take it lightly. This is may be a warning sign that you are in the early stage of gum disease. If not treated, the effects could go beyond just your mouth, teeth and gums. In fact, it could affect your heart health. Learn more about the connection between these two parts of your body and how preventive dentistry and oral hygiene can protect you from gum disease and the related problems.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that is brought on by the growth of harmful bacteria that form a sticky substance called plaque. This acidic stew of over 300 different types of bacteria clings to your teeth and along the gum line, infecting the tissue and boring into your teeth.
The disease begins as gingivitis, which is the only stage where the damage is reversible. It is also during this phase that you may first notice puffy, swollen and irritated gums that easily bleed.
How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Heart
If not addressed, gum disease will continue to get worse, burrowing deeper into your teeth and gums and causing infection. One of your body’s natural responses to infection is to become inflamed (swollen), which can lead to even more serious problems. Thus, the infected blood that travels from your gums down to your heart causes inflammation wherever it goes.
As the infected blood travels to the heart, the inflammation causes arterial plaque to form. This is quite significant because your arteries transport oxygen from the heart, and plaque inhibits this process. The result is an internal traffic jam, leaving you susceptible to heart attack and stroke.
Thus, when you take steps to prevent gum disease, you are not only protecting the health of your mouth, teeth and gums – you are preventing damage to your heart.
Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
The two primary ways to prevent gum disease are the following:
- Oral Hygiene – Your oral hygiene is of great importance because it involves activities that you participate in every day of the year. The two main processes that must be maintained are brushing and flossing at least twice a day. They contribute majorly to the removal of the harmful bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Regular Visits – It is also very important to maintain regular visits with your dentist to accomplish two major tasks: to have your teeth and gums cleaned thoroughly, and to receive a tedious examination. The former will remove stubborn plaque and tartar that may have accumulated. The latter will allow your dentist to identify any developing issues before they become major problems.
So now that you know more about the connection between oral and cardiovascular health, are you ready to take proactive steps? If so, then reach out to your local dentist to schedule your first appointment so that you can enjoy excellent health for years to come.
About the Author
Passionate about providing excellent dental care, Dr. Eric Buck is a fixture in the Dublin community. He earned his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and maintains affiliation with several professional organizations. Dr. Buck practices at Distinctive Smiles and can be reached for more information through his website.