Ask a Complete Health Dentist: Will Gum Disease Cause Heart Disease Issues?
A complete health dentist says people with gum disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular issues. Gum disease is the result of plaque and tartar building up at the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on teeth surfaces, while tartar is calcified plaque. The bacteria in these substances make their way below the gums, prompting a response from the immune system. The result is inflammation and damage to gum tissues. Gum disease is a progressive, chronic condition and its advanced stage can lead to teeth falling out.
According to a complete health dentist, cardiovascular diseases are caused by a different type of plaque that builds up in arteries. This type of plaque is made up of fat, calcium, cholesterol and a few other materials present in the body. The condition is called atherosclerosis and it can clog arteries or leave them blocked.
A complete health dentist explores how gum disease affects cardiovascular disease
According to Harvard researchers, people with gum disease are two to three more likely to have cardiovascular problems, a stroke or heart disease. That does not mean that everyone with gum disease will have cardiovascular issues and vice versa.
Both conditions have a variety of shared risk factors that might have something to do with the link between the two. For example, smokers are more likely to develop gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Studies do indicate gum disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe the bacteria that cause gum diseases might be the link between the two. This bacteria can be inhaled into the lungs or ingested into the bloodstream. It can infect the lining of the heart or cause inflammation in a person's arteries, blocking the flow of blood throughout their body.
Inflammation is how the body fights off germs that are invading it. Gum tissues become inflamed when infected by bacteria as antibodies attack the microbial invaders. In the short-term, inflammation helps the healing process, but it can lead to a multitude of health issues when it occurs chronically. Inflammation is viewed as a key contributor to cardiovascular issues like atherosclerosis.
Figuring out how to address chronic inflammation has been a huge focus in the medical research community for the past several years. Research shows that compounds called resolvins can be used to treat chronic conditions that are caused by inflammation like atherosclerosis and periodontitis.
Treating gum disease
There is no definitive proof treating gum disease helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, but the connection between the two has been established to the point most complete health dentists recommend getting gum disease under control if when struggling with cardiovascular disease.
The first stage of gum disease called gingivitis is reversible. Good oral hygiene and regular teeth cleaning can stop the progression in its tracks and restore healthy gums. Good oral hygiene includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using a therapeutic mouthwash to contain bacteria populations in the mouth. Additionally, complete health dentists recommend routine cleanings and checkups.
Put gum disease behind you
Call or visit our Madison clinic to learn more about how our complete health dentist can help you to manage gum disease.
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