February is not only American Heart Association Month, but it is also Gum Disease Awareness Month! Making sure your oral and overall health are in optimal condition is important to living a long, happy, and healthy life. But if you’re wondering how these two could possibly be connected, let a local prosthodontist explain how crucial it is to maintain good gum health to prevent a negative impact on your heart.
Gums and Heart: What’s the Connection?
When gum disease attacks the soft tissue surrounding your teeth, you will notice that your gums become discolored and may even bleed when you are brushing or flossing your teeth. Although considered an early stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, it is necessary that your dentist address the problem quickly to prevent further progression of the disease. But why?
There are several explanations, but one is the fact that gingivitis can be easily reversed with regular dental cleanings and proper oral habits performed at home. If allowed to worsen over time, it can turn into periodontitis, which is a much more aggressive form of gum disease that attacks the bone and ultimately leads to deterioration of the jawbone and loosening teeth.
But that’s not all…
Your heart comes into play when the infection and inflammation from the harmful bacteria enters your bloodstream. As plaque and tartar spread beneath the gum line, it can seep into your blood and travel to various areas of your body, one of which includes the heart. As a result, you can face heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other problems and health conditions.
Ways to Combat Gum Disease
To break it down quite simply, these are a few tips to consider if you want to keep gum disease from creeping into your mouth:
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You can also talk to your dentist about a product that combats gum disease.
- Floss in-between your teeth at least once a day.
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash twice daily.
- Keep your regularly scheduled dental checkups and cleanings twice a year.
- Avoid eating too much sugar, as this can cause bacteria to grow and spread throughout your mouth.
- Quit smoking, as this weakens your immune system and makes it difficult to fight off infection.
If you do discover that you have gum disease, talk to your dentist immediately about periodontal treatment. Using the right tools, equipment, and methods, your dental team can stop the progression of gum disease and get you back to better oral and overall health.
About the Author
Dr. Rob Schumacher understands how gum disease can impact more than just your oral health. From a heart attack to a stroke, it’s imperative that steps be taken to prevent these damaging side effects. This is why Dr. Schumacher and his team are proud to offer periodontal therapy. As a highly trained and board-certified prosthodontist, he is passionate about helping his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. He completed his undergraduate studies at Asbury College in Willmore, Kentucky. He then went on to the University of Kentucky and the University of Michigan for dental training. To learn more, contact us at (781) 334-3400.