The newsLINK Group - The Correlation Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Periodontist – Gum Disease Topics: Gum Disease and Heart Disease Title: The Correlation Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Doctors have known for a long time that there is a connection between how healthy your mouth is and how healthy your heart is. It probably has to do with the bacteria in your mouth moving to other parts of your body. Editorial: The Correlation Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 The Connection Doctors have known for a long time that there is a connection between how healthy your mouth is and how healthy your heart is. It probably has to do with the bacteria in your mouth moving to other parts of your body. A doctor can even tell whether you are at higher risk for heart disease just by knowing some information about your dental health. In particular, the following problems tell a knowledgeable doctor that you might be at risk for heart disease: Periodontal disease Gingivitis, or gum disease Cavities Missing teeth Periodontal disease affects your gums, mandible, and maxilla (more commonly known as the supporting bones for your teeth). If you have it, the American Academy of Periodontology says you are almost two times more likely to have coronary heart disease as well. How likely is it that you do have it? If your age is between 21 and 50, you have a 15% chance. If you are older than 50, the rate doubles to 30%. What You Should Do to Prevent Gum Disease Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. The best way to prevent it is to remove the bacteria. It thrives in an environment that has irregular surfaces, such as the ones provided by a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a gummy substance that consists of food, acid, and bacteria. It hardens into something called tartar (or calculus) if you don’t remove it. In addition, it irritates your gums and eats away at enamel. You can help prevent gum disease just by getting rid of plaque: Use an electric toothbrush. Floss your teeth regularly. Visit the dentist every six months for an exam, and have your teeth thoroughly cleaned by a professional. A good electric toothbrush is more thorough than a traditional toothbrush, which means you can remove plaque from your teeth much more effectively than would be possible otherwise. If you don’t have an electric toothbrush, an inexpensive, traditional toothbrush is still going to be better than not brushing at all. To get the benefit from flossing, you need to floss at least once every day. If you’ve already developed periodontal disease, you may need to ask the dentist to help you by scaling and root planing your teeth. Scaling consists of removing the tartar, with particular emphasis along the roots of your teeth below the gum line. Planing removes any tartar that was left after scaling and also smooths your teeth so there are fewer places where a problem could develop in the future. Some people with severe cases of periodontal disease may need surgery to help correct the problem. What You Should Do if You Already Have Heart Disease If you have heart problems, you already know what you ought to be doing to protect your health: Maintain as healthy a weight as you can. Eat whole grains, lean meats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Minimize the amount of sugar, fat, and salt in your diet, and drink plenty of water. If you aren’t getting enough exercise (most people don’t), then work up to exercising five or six days a week for at least half an hour—and try to increase that to an hour or more of exercise. Do what you can to control other risk factors such as diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In addition to these other strategies, be aware of the connection between your teeth and your heart. For example, suppose you’ve had heart surgery recently. Mouth bacteria could infect your heart tissue and cause endocarditis. To prevent this, you might have to take antibiotics before you allow the dentist to perform any dental procedures.
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