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The Link Between Gum Disease, Heart Disease, and Strokes

Though more and more people are taking better care of their teeth with at-home care and regular visits to the dentist, nearly 50% of adults age 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs when there’s an accumulation of bacteria under your gums, leading to an infection and inflammation of the tissue and bones that keep your teeth in place. 

When left untreated, gum disease can increase your risk for tooth loss, but that's not the only health condition linked to the dental problem. Gum disease may also affect your heart health and increase your risk for stroke.

At Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, Samuel Sigmon, DDS, and our team of dental experts specialize in periodontal disease. We want to help you understand the link between the health of your gums and your risk for heart disease and stroke. 

Gum disease explained

Your mouth serves as the home for more than 700 different microbes, including various types of bacteria. Though many of these microbes support your oral health, some can cause oral health problems, such as cavities and gum disease.

For example, when the bacteria in your mouth combines with food particles, saliva, and mucus, it can form a sticky film on your teeth and gums called plaque. Regular brushing and flossing can help get rid of plaque. 

However, if it’s not removed fast enough, plaque can turn into tartar, which is a hard, yellow substance that can’t be removed by your toothbrush, special toothpaste, or dental floss. Tartar can trap bacteria under your gums and on your teeth. 

The trapped bacteria can then multiply in the warm and moist environment, causing an infection and inflammation.

Linking gum disease to heart health and stroke

It may not seem possible that gum disease can affect your heart health. However, the bacteria that causes gum disease can travel from your mouth to your bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of your body, including your blood vessels and the valves in your heart. 

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, researchers are still trying to understand the link between gum disease and heart disease. However, there is strong evidence that gum disease increases your risk for developing heart disease. 

Gum disease also doubles your risk for having a stroke, according to a study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management.

During a stroke, a blocked or bleeding blood vessel reduces blood supply to your brain, which can lead to permanent brain damage and other health complications. 

Like the link to heart disease, researchers are still investigating the link between gum disease and stroke. 

Treating gum disease

The good news is that gum disease is treatable. We offer many innovative therapies that can treat the infection and reduce the inflammation, including:

We also perform pocket reduction surgery, which effectively cleans your tooth roots and recontour the bone. This treatment can improve your oral health and also make future teeth cleanings much easier.

Though we have many effective tools to treat gum disease, prevention is the best way to help your mouth and heart. We recommend regular dental cleanings to remove tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. 

Taking good care of your teeth and gums benefits more than just your smile. To schedule your dental checkup and cleaning, book an appointment online or over the phone with Full Circle Dental Care today.

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