Researchers have found possible links between periodontal (gum) infections and diseases throughout the rest of the body. Current studies suggest that there may be a connection between periodontal disease, heart disease, and other health conditions. Researchers are finding that gum disease may be a more serious risk for heart problems than hypertension, smoking, cholesterol, gender, and age. New studies suggest that people with gum disease are at a higher risk for heart attacks.
The current theory is that bacteria present in infected gums can loosen and move throughout the entire body. The worse the gum infection, the more likely these bacteria are to become blood-borne. Infected gums bleed very easily allowing the bacteria to more easily enter the blood stream. Once the bacteria reach the arteries, arterial tissue can become irritated the way gum tissue becomes irritated. This can result in hardening of arteries and a disturbance of the blood flow.
Your best protection is to keep your mouth healthy. See Dr. Mahlin minimally every six months for periodic maintenance. If you have gum disease, maintenance may be recommended on a 3-4 month frequency. Although gum disease can often show no symptoms, red, irritated, or bleeding gums are all warning signs of problems. There are many treatments available to help reverse and control gum disease.
Remember that gum disease is caused by plaque build-up and can be influenced by nutrition, hormonal changes, stress, genetics, and oral hygiene. Removing plaque below the gum-line by brushing and flossing will reduce your chance for getting periodontal disease.
If you have any questions about your oral health, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.