It might surprise you to learn about the increased belief that healthy teeth and gums can positively affect your entire body, including your heart.
It is yet another reason to brush frequently, floss daily, and see your dentist or periodontist for routine check-us and cleanings. At Farber Center, we want to help you dedicate the new year to become healthier and happier. In this case, you don’t need to do anything additional such as signing up for a gym membership—though exercise is essential. But you do need to resolve to take the best care possible of your teeth and gums. The next time you visit us, ask a hygienist for a refresher about brushing and flossing techniques.
When it comes to additional benefits from healthy teeth and gums, it turns out that your heart may be among the chief beneficiaries. When you have infected gum or decayed teeth, the bacteria found in those can come into contact with the circulatory system, and therefore the cardiovascular system. Research continues to establish direct links between oral health and heart health further, but the indicators are that one supports the other. Eating healthy also is one of the most significant determiners of heart health, and many of the best low fat and high fiber choices are crunchy fruits and vegetables. It takes strong, healthy teeth to chew and eat crunchy fresh vegetables and fruits.
Connections Between Heart Disease & Gum Disease
Gum disease, which is a low-grade bacterial infection, is caused by an accumulation of sticky, bacteria-laden film we all know as plaque. Similarly, the heart can develop atherosclerosis, which is a build-up consisting of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and various other substances. The build-up is a sign of coronary artery disease. Heart and gum disease also share many risk factors, including smoking or an unhealthy diet. Not everyone with gum disease will develop heart disease or vice versa. There is, however, a growing belief that gum disease may be a risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, people with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
Therefore, it’s essential to brush and floss — and to be treated promptly if you develop either gingivitis or periodontitis, two forms of gum disease. Periodontal treatment options have expanded significantly in recent years, in many cases, now less invasive and more effective. The arrival of lasers such as the PerioLase MVP 7 that we use at Farber Center has brought new and better gum disease treatments. With lasers, we can reattach gum tissue that has pulled away from the teeth and even stimulate the body to regenerate bone that has been lost. It means if you do develop gum disease and require treatment, the prognosis for improvement is better than ever before.
Low-Grade Oral Infections Cause Inflammation
The theory that gum disease can directly increase your risk for heart disease centers around the inflammation that results from gum disease. When your body is suffering from an infection, like gum disease, you begin to manufacture immune cells to attack the irritants and microbial attacks. In the short term, these cells are the body’s best defense against infection as it tries to heal. But in the long run, chronic inflammation is a crucial contributor to a series of health problems—including atherosclerosis. The best defense is identifying and treating any gum disease early, which also increases the chances that you will keep your teeth.
Among the many good reasons to visit your dentist or periodontist for twice-a-year check-ups is to identify any gum disease early. While some people may notice swelling or discomfort, many people can have gingivitis or periodontitis and not realize. Dental professionals can identify problems in their earlier stages when they are less harmful and more comfortable to treat. Periodontal deep cleanings, as well as newer methods like Laser Pocket Disinfection, are among the treatment methods available to help people with infected and inflamed gums. Farber Center is always aware of your comfort and peace of mind, and many new options are more comfortable and less invasive.
If you believe you are suffering from gum disease, or even if you want to be sure you aren’t, call us for an appointment or fill out our online contact form. Farber Center wants to ensure you have a healthy and happy new year.