You eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day. You get at least thirty minutes of daily exercise. You abstain from smoking and you hardly ever drink alcohol. But still, you could be at risk of heart disease. Why is that? Because there is a significant link between gum disease and cardiovascular problems. Keep reading below as a dentist in Medford discusses this connection and how you can avoid getting gum disease in the first place.
What Is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gum tissue that causes inflammation. It starts out with mild symptoms, like puffy, red gums and bleeding when brushing and flossing. However, if not treated, it can rapidly progress to the point that your gums recede and leave your teeth vulnerable to becoming loose and even falling out!
How Is Gum Disease Connected to Heart Disease?
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. As a result, bacteria that make their home in your mouth can have access to the rest of your body. This is especially true with gum disease, which may cause pockets to appear between your teeth and gums. Bacteria can then travel through your bloodstream and reach other parts of your body, including your heart.
Another theory posits that the inflammation that begins in the gums can set off a chain reaction of inflammation throughout the body, eventually resulting in the narrowing of important arteries in the heart that can cause heart disease.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
One of the best ways to keep your heart in good health is by taking care of your gums. Prevent gum disease by sticking to the following tips:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating your gums.
- Floss at least once a day (ideally after every meal) to remove food debris, bacteria, and plaque from between your teeth and along your gumline.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Checkups allow your dentist to diagnose gum disease while it’s still easily treatable. Regular cleanings remove plaque that causes gum disease.
- Quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Keep your gums hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
Taking care of your heart involves maintaining excellent oral health. Follow the steps listed above to make sure your gums and your heart stay happy and healthy!
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Giamberardino is a 1985 graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He opened his practice in Medford, MA in 1993 and has never looked back. He has achieved a Fellowship with the American College of Dentists. His practice offers periodontal therapy, or gum disease treatment, to help you prevent the risk of heart disease. To learn more, visit his website.