February marks American Heart Health Month, and for that reason, the team at West Houston Periodontics & Dental Implants wishes to note the occasion by offering some useful material on the links between periodontal disease and heart health.
Not everyone realizes that there is indeed a connection between cardiovascular health and the health of teeth and gums, but researchers have increasingly found that the two are closely interrelated. Our staff has a vested interest in helping our Houston area patients steer clear of periodontal (gum) disease as well as the potentially fatal dangers of heart disease, and that is why we are taking the time to provide key information on the subject at this most timely point on the calendar.
How Gum and Heart Health Are Linked
Perhaps the most telling connection between gum and heart disease may be seen when there is inflammation present in the mouth. When the gums are inflamed, there tends to be a greater likelihood that bacteria developing in the mouth will make their way into the bloodstream and ultimately reach the heart.
There are two general types of gum disease, namely, gingivitis (known for painful, red gums) and periodontitis (characterized by pus pockets inside the mouth). It is the latter variety that poses the main risk of heart ailments, as it permits bacteria to penetrate the gum line and travel to other areas of the body. Streptococcus sanguis, associated with a greater risk of stroke, is a type of bacteria frequently seen in cases of periodontal disease.
When bacteria accumulations build in the arteries, the heart itself may become inflamed, and the arteries can harden and exhibit a condition known as atherosclerosis. When this happens, it becomes more difficult for blood to flow properly to the heart, raising the risks of stroke and heart attacks. The good news is that we can offer current and prospective patients alike some helpful advice for preventing such a hazardous scenario from emerging.
First and foremost, it is crucial to always follow solid oral health and hygiene practices. Do not neglect daily flossing and brushing, and always make time to see your periodontist on a routine basis. If you develop any concerns related to cardiovascular health or issues in other areas of the body, make sure to provide details of your condition to the periodontist as well. Finally, always heed the advice of your cardiologist as well as your periodontist, making sure to take all medications as prescribed and at their full dosage.
Get in Touch with West Houston Periodontics & Dental Implants Today
If you would like more information about the potential link between gum disease and poor heart health, contact the Houston office of Dr. Kevin B. Calongne, D.D.S. We take pride in delivering the resources and information our patients need to make informed decisions about the health of their teeth and gums and how that impacts their overall wellness.
To schedule a consultation for your periodontal concerns or to explore the possibility of receiving dental implants to replace missing teeth, get in touch with our team by calling (713) 365-9626.