Can Gum Disease Affect Your Heart?
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. For years Arizona doctors and dentists have known there is a link between the health of your heart and the health of your gums. Now this has been corroborated by one of the biggest studies to date in this field. Indications are that gum disease may be more of a predictor of cardiovascular disease than traditional risk factors. Having gum disease can increase your risk of having a heart attack by nearly 30%
What is gum disease and how do you get it?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. It builds up on your teeth, especially between the teeth and along the gum line. You can feel it on your teeth when they feel rough and fuzzy when they need brushing. The bacteria in plaque produces acids that eat away at teeth, causing dental caries. If the plaque is not removed it can cause gum inflammation known as gingivitis. In addition, when plaque isn’t promptly removed from your teeth, it hardens into tartar that adheres to your teeth too tightly to be removed by brushing and flossing, it will require a dental professional.
When gingivitis is not treated it can turn into gum disease, a disease that inflames both the hard and soft tissue that supports your teeth. The gums can pull back from the roots of the teeth leaving pockets that can become infected. Ultimately the infection attacks the tissue and bones that hold the teeth in place, resulting in loose teeth that will eventually fall out.
Before this happens, an Arrowhead dentist can intervene. Even if your gums are swollen, if the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets and no irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred, early gum disease can be treated by scaling and planing the tooth and root surface. Scaling scrapes away plaque while planing smooths the surface of the tooth root, making it harder for bacteria to adhere. The procedure is usually done under a local anesthetic, unless the patient is overly anxious.