Is Gum Disease Related to Heart Disease? A Periodontist Discusses the Link

Is Gum Disease Related to Heart Disease? A Periodontist Discusses the Link

July 5, 2021

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. As an umbrella term, it can refer to multiple conditions such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain and more. Fortunately, researchers have learned more about this serious condition in recent years, improving prevention and treatment efforts and ultimately saving lives. In fact, there’s one discovery that may surprise you: Countless studies have found a link between the gums and the heart. If you think you may have gum disease in Houston and want to know more, keep reading below. With effective treatment, gum disease doesn’t have to put your heart at risk!

How Is Your Heart Related to Your Gums?

Without question, everything in your body is connected. And while studies are ongoing to determine the exact link, researchers think that the bacteria in your mouth spread to every area of your body, including your heart, through the bloodstream.

These bacteria, which are a large component of plaque and tartar, directly cause inflammation of the gums (aka gum disease). Signs and symptoms include bleeding gums, often after brushing and flossing, as well as tender or swollen gums, chronic bad breath, and even loose teeth in advanced stages.

When plaque and bacteria accumulate under the gumline, gum inflammation isn’t the only consequence. As these bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart, they cause inflammation and plaque formation there as well, eventually narrowing the arteries. This increases the risk for many cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.

How Can You Improve the Health of Your Gums?

Gum disease isn’t an automatic sentence to heart problems. With dedication to good oral hygiene at home and Houston gum disease treatment, you can improve your gum health and heart health at the same time. Here are some several types of treatments that can help:

Scaling and root planning – Sometimes called a “deep cleaning,” this procedure is usually done in 2-4 visits. First, you’ll be numbed for comfort before the tartar and bacteria are thoroughly removed from under your gumline. Next, the roots of your teeth will be smoothed to prevent bacteria from re-accumulating.

Periodontal maintenance – This refers to ongoing cleanings that are designed for patients with gum disease to maintain their progress after a deep cleaning. These visits are typically recommended on 3–4-month intervals, depending on your needs.

Osseous surgery – This may be recommended if you have more advanced gum disease in which you’ve lost much of the supportive bone around your teeth. It’s done by a periodontist who will remove diseased gum tissue and reshape your bone to provide better support.

Gum disease can only be managed, not cured. But by consistently following your periodontist’s recommendations and doing your part at home, there’s no question that you can achieve healthier gums and lower your risk of heart disease.

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