Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women and men in America. Gum disease is also incredibly common, and affects up to 80 percent of adults over 35. Given that medical researchers have discovered a link between these two diseases, everyone should be aware of how one condition may affect the other.
Do you need Knoxville gum disease treatments? Dr. Ruth Bailey provides periodontal treatments to help you keep your symptoms under control. Call our dental office 865-588-1294 to set up an appointment and learn more about gum disease and heart health.
On its own, gum disease (periodontitis) is a nasty foe. It can silently advance with few noticeable symptoms and eventually destroy the gum tissue, eventually causing tooth and bone loss. It is also an irreversible condition, but periodontal treatments can help you keep your symptoms under control and minimize the damage to your teeth and gums.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Periodontitis is inflammation and bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It can be caused by poor oral hygiene, dental neglect, failure to floss adequately, smoking, and other factors. Anyone can develop gum disease at any point in their life. Even patients with excellent oral hygiene habits may develop symptoms due to hormonal changes, medication, or genetic factors. We all have Streptococcus mutans and other bacteria in our mouths, and when they are not adequately controlled with good oral hygiene and dental cleanings, it can colonize the gum tissue. As bacteria inhabit the pockets of space between the teeth and gums, it excretes an acid that damages and destroys living tissue.
The most notable symptoms of gum disease include swollen, red, or irritable gum tissue. You may also notice bleeding when you brush and floss. As gum disease advances, the gums may seem to pull away from the teeth, and tooth roots may become exposed. Eventually the loss of gingival tissue can lead to teeth becoming less stable and more susceptible to decay.
Luckily periodontitis has a less-severe, reversible precursor form called gingivitis. When you maintain a schedule of routine dental appointments, we can monitor your gum health and treat gingivitis symptoms in an effort to prevent periodontitis from setting in.
How Gum Disease is Connected to Other Conditions
It has been demonstrated that periodontal disease increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart arrhythmia, rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers. It also has a negative effect on a patient’s ability to manage blood sugar levels, which can adversely affect diabetic patients’ health.
Researchers aren’t 100 percent certain of how gum disease affects the heart, but they suspect it has something to do with the mouth being a gateway for bacteria to enter the body. The same strains of S. mutans found in the mouth have been found in arterial plaque, which suggests that the bacteria may enter the blood stream via bleeding gums.
The connection between gum disease and systemic conditions is still being researched and is not fully understood—but it is definitely there. If you can prevent the onset of gum disease, you may be able to stay one step ahead of conditions like heart disease and stroke. If you already have gum disease, the best way to prevent it from affecting your overall health is to seek periodontal treatments with your dentist or periodontal specialist. This is also the best way to make sure you hold onto your teeth, as well!
Contact our Knoxville dental office at 865-588-1294 to learn more about the periodontal treatments with Dr. Bailey. Knoxville gum disease treatments help you preserve your oral and overall health for a long and happy life.