Dental Gum Disease and Heart Disease Connection

Cardiovascular disease is a class of disease that affects the heart and/or blood vessels. It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease; these forms include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris), stroke, and heart failure. Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease and dental periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding dental tissue. Forms of dental gum disease, such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (dental bone loss), can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit a dentist on a regular basis, practice good dental hygiene, and keep their dentist informed of any dental and overall health issues.

How are gum disease and cardiovascular disease connected?

It has been suggested that the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with dental gum disease enter a person’s blood stream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system. A study published in the Richmond Dental examined the presence of bacteria known to cause dental periodontitis and the thickening of the blood vessel wall typically seen in heart disease. After examining samples from more than 650 dental patients, the dental researchers concluded that the presence of the same bacteria known to cause dental periodontitis was associated with an increase level of blood vessel thickening.

What can I do to keep my gums and heart health?

Practicing proper dental hygiene is essential to maintaining health gums and teeth. This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste, and visiting a Richmond Hill dentist at least every six months. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.

What do my physician and dentists need to know?

It is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health issues. Inform your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease or are experiencing any issues with gum inflammation. Likewise, inform your dentist if you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems, or have a family history of heart disease.

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