There is a connection between the heart and the mouth that many people are unaware of.
There has been a lot of research investigating this connection and it has shown that people with gum disease (periodontal disease) are more likely to have heart disease.
The American Academy of General Dentistry published a report showing that people with chronic gum disease are at a higher risk of a heart attack.
We need to consider the mouth to be the entrance to our general health. As such it really does hold a lot of clues into overall health. In addition to heart disease, the oral cavity provides warning signs for other medical conditions. It is important to see your dentist regularly so they can properly inspect your mouth in order to help keep you healthy.
Am I at Risk?
It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene in order to decrease your risk of gum disease. Research shows that a lot of the risk factors for heart disease correlate with those for gum disease. These include smoking, bad eating habits, and diabetes.
A lot of research has been done investigating why gum disease is related to heart disease. Some studies have put forth that bacteria from the infected gums dislodges, enters the bloodstream, and attaches to the blood vessels. Once inside the blood vessels the bacteria increases and will cause a clot to form. Other studies have suggested that since patients with gum disease suffer from chronic inflammation, this can trigger the formation of blood clots.
When the blood vessels have clots clogging the area, the blood flow is decreased to the heart. This then causes the blood pressure to rise which seriously escalates the threat of heart attacks.
Since many medical conditions show warnings signs in the mouth, diagnosis of these conditions by the dentist is becoming more common. It is important to let your dentist know if you have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure. The dentist will do a comprehensive evaluation of your mouth and check for pain, inflammation, and infection.
Research through the American Academy of General Dentistry shows that proper diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and infections in the oral cavity does led to improved overall health in addition to a decrease in blood pressure medications.
Be sure to carefully follow instructions from your physician and dentist about your health, and use any prescription medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.
How Can I Avoid This From Happening?
The AGD reports that gum disease affects 80% of American adults and many of the people that suffer from it are unaware that it is present.
Some signs that can warn you that you are at risk include swollen, red or bleeding gums, gums that detach from your teeth, bad breath or bad taste, and teeth that are shifting and seem loose.
Regular dental exams and cleanings are important to prevent gum disease. Also make sure you are doing proper oral hygiene at home by brushing twice per day and flossing once per day to decrease the bacteria and plaque in your mouth. You can always ask your dental hygienist for tips on proper techniques for this.
Prevention is the key to success in oral health and overall health. Be proactive and you will be sure to be healthier in life.