Heart Health and Periodontal Disease
CONDITIONS LIKE HEART DISEASE AND DIABETES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Making sure your mouth stays healthy is about more than just avoiding cavities and making sure your smile is beautiful — a healthy mouth equals a healthy heart. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is following many studies researching the connection between gum disease and heart disease. While gum disease does not directly cause or lead to heart disease, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they are linked. In addition to heart disease, gum disease has been linked to certain cancers, diabetes, and strokes. All of this means that a healthy mouth can have a positive effect on your heart and overall health. The skilled team of board-certified dental professionals at DentalWorks - High Point offer diagnosis and treatment for gum disease. Learn more about what causes gum disease and what symptoms to watch for, as well as ways to treat and prevent periodontal disease.
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an inflammation of the soft tissue holding your teeth. This situation occurs when plaque (a sticky bacteria) begins to build up around the teeth. Plaque is created when starches and sugars mix with your saliva. This is completely natural and happens to everyone. However, the plaque is typically removed when you brush, floss, and visit your dentist’s office 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 gum disease, periodontitis causes your gumline to rise, which makes your teeth feel loose. Without treatment, the infection can spread to your teeth, jawbone, and eventually, your whole body if it reaches your bloodstream.
Inflammation in the gums (periodontal disease) is more common than you think. Nearly half of the adult population suffers from some degree of the condition. Because early signs of gum disease are often painless, it can be difficult for you to diagnose on your own. The best way to check and make sure you do not have gum disease is to diligently attend dental cleanings and examinations at your dentist’s office in High Point, NC. Also, know what to look for when brushing, so you can stay ahead of the curve and schedule an appointment if you notice symptoms. The most common symptoms of gum disease are swollen, red, or tender gums that bleed easily when you brush, floss, or eat hard foods. Chronic bad breath (halitosis) is also a clue that something is going on in your mouth and you could use a checkup. A more serious symptom is the presence of pus or a sore between your teeth and gums. You may also notice a buildup of hard brown deposits at the top of your teeth near the gumline. If you notice that your gums are receding or your teeth feel loose, visit your dentist right away for diagnosis and treatment.
If you have gingivitis, it is often treated with one or more scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment. During an SRP treatment, your dentist will use a scaling tool to remove buildup from your gum pockets. Then, your dentist 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 after an SRP treatment to eliminate any lingering bacteria in your gums. If your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, your dentist may recommend periodontal surgery to reach deeper areas of your gums than a scaling and root planing treatment.
Healthy teeth and gums are the foundation of a stunning smile. If you want to make sure you never have to deal with the symptoms or consequences of gum disease, there are a few things you can do to improve your gum health:
- AVOID TOBACCO
People who use tobacco (smoking cigars or cigarettes, chewing, or vaping) are seven times for likely to suffer from oral conditions, so you should quit right away can help prevent gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer. If you need help, talk to your primary care physician about smoking and other tobacco cessation methods, including gum, nicotine patches, and prescription medication.
- REGULAR DENTAL VISITS
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 is easier to treat. Professional cleanings remove built-up plaque and tartar that you may have trouble getting at home. Regular visits to a trustworthy dentist can help you fight off gum disease and greatly reduce the chance of getting heart disease through examinations and cleanings. If you have dental fears or anxieties that keep you from routine appointments, our office in High Point, NC offers different levels of sedation dentistry to help keep you calm and relaxed so you don't skip these important visits.
- ROUTINE MEDICAL CHECKS
You should schedule an annual exam with your general practitioner to check your overall health. Your doctor will perform diagnostics like blood tests to see if you have or are at risk for common health problems. Based on your test results, your doctor can give you recommendations to improve your overall health, which may reduce your risk of oral health problems. For example, controlling your blood pressure, being at a healthy weight, and managing common health conditions like diabetes can help you reduce your chances of suffering from gingivitis or another oral health condition.
- HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
When you eat a balanced diet that avoids processed and sugary foods, you can reduce the development of plaque on your teeth, which minimizes your chance of getting gum disease. Reducing your stress levels and establishing a weekly workout regimen can also help to reduce your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
HEALTHY FOR LIFE
Protect your heart by improving your oral health. Find a great dentist and visit their office at least twice a year to avoid gum disease and other dental problems. Our practice in High Point, NC has board-certified and experienced dental professionals who are skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating the varying stages of gum disease. Proactively fight against gingivitis and periodontitis by scheduling an oral health exam and then developing a stellar oral health regimen at home that give you a healthy smile for life.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.