In people who suffer from heart disease, doctors have begun noticing a trend where many of these patients also displayed signs of periodontal disease. This trend was confirmed through a series of studies finding that patients with periodontal disease are also more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. While the data is there to link the two issues, experts have yet to agree on the cause.
Two Theories Linking Gum and Heart Disease
Doctors and scientists are split between two main theories. One suggests that gum disease is a potential cause of cardiovascular disease. The other theory believes that there is only a correlation between the two.
Inflammation & Bacteria Cause Heart Disease
The first theory suggests that inflammation and bacteria are the main culprits. Inflammation in the gums usually indicates that some form of gum disease is present. Gingivitis causes red, swollen, painful gums, while Periodontitis occurs when pockets below the gum line become infected with germs. Periodontitis is the main concern because it makes it more likely that germs and bacteria can enter your blood stream.
The bacteria found most in periodontal disease is called streptococcus sanguis, which can cause strokes. In people who don’t have gum disease, there is typically much less of this bacteria found in the heart.
Bad Habits Correlate With Heart Issues
The second theory states that people who have periodontal disease often have bad habits that also lead to heart issues. For example, smoking cigarettes often leads to gum disease, but it is also a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. A poor diet that is high in sugar can lead to both issues as well.
Some experts think that if a person is not looking after their oral health, they’re most likely going to neglect behaviors that would prevent cardiovascular disease.
How to Reduce Your Risk in Hickory, NC
Be sure to get regular checkups with your dentist. Preventative care can go a long way with regards to improving your oral health. Also, be sure to regularly visit your doctor to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health.
In order to protect your teeth, gums, and heart, it is important to make the following lifestyle changes:
- Brush and floss regularly
- If you smoke, quit immediately
- Eat food that is low in sugar
- Be sure to get plenty of exercise
- If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Schedule your appointment today with Dr. Robinette by calling (828) 267-0651!