Most people are unaware that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, which is followed by cancer. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 80 million Americans have at least one form of cardiovascular disease; the most common types include stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease (angina pectoris and acute heart attack).
Because of the prevalence of heart disease, there have been many studies published on its causes. You might be surprised to learn that there is a connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that also includes the alveolar bone and periodontal ligament. In some instances, periodontal disease is so advanced that it affects all of the surrounding tissues in the mouth.
Other studies on periodontal disease and it’s connection to heart disease have revealed that dental bone loss, which is called periodontitis, and gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, can be an indication of heart disease. There have been many cases where a dentist has observed oral health issues during teeth cleanings that have been an indication of more serious problems. This often prompts the patient to visit their primary care physician or a cardiologist.
This connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease is one of many reasons why it’s important to practice good hygiene and visit your dentist at least twice a year. Taking care of your oral health includes staying in communication with your dentist regarding any issues that you’ve experienced. It’s also important to notify your dentist of any health problems for a coordinated approach to optimizing your health.
The Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease
It’s believed that the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease involves bacteria and proteins associated with gum disease entering the bloodstream and affecting the cardiovascular system. Studies of dental patients have found that the bacteria responsible for causing periodontitis also contributes to the thickening of blood vessels.
How to Optimize the Health of Your Gums and Heart
Given the potential problems associated with poor dental hygiene, it’s of critical importance to take care of your teeth and gums on a regular basis. Houston Dentists at Sinada Dental often recommend that you brush your teeth at last twice a day to remove bacteria that can lead to decay and many related conditions.
It’s also recommended that you floss on a regular basis to loosen any particles that were not removed while brushing your teeth. In addition to maintaining a commitment to proper oral hygiene, you’ll want to select a toothpaste that fits your needs. Antibacterial toothpaste is beneficial when it comes to mitigating the potential for heart disease.
An aspect of oral health that’s sometimes overlooked is paying close attention to the types of foods and beverages that you consume. It’s no secret that sugary foods are not good for your teeth and can cause problems like tooth decay. To mitigate the potential for heart disease, it’s important to have a regular exercise program and consult with your doctor regarding your cardiovascular health during annual visits. You also want to contact your doctor if you notice anything out of the norm.
What to Share With Your Dentist and Doctor
Every aspect of your body is connected. With that being the case, it’s important to realize that an issue in one area of your body has the potential to affect another area of your body. If you have received a diagnosis of gum disease from your dentist, it’s important to communicate with your doctor about the diagnosis. The opposite is also true; you should notify your dentist of any heart conditions. You also want to notify your doctor if conditions like cardiovascular disease run in the family.