If you visit your dentist, you’re probably aware that they don’t just look for tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, your dentist checks for any abnormalities in your mouth, especially oral cancer. But did you know that your dentist is also keeping an eye on your heart health as well? It might seem strange, but your oral health is heavily tied to your heart health, according to numerous research reports.
Your dentist in Rocky River says the better you treat your gums, the less chance you have of contracting more serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease and stroke. Keep reading to learn about their link and what you can do to protect yourself.
How Oral Bacteria Affects the Heart
When you don’t take proper care of your gums, oral bacteria slowly start to build up and break gum tissue down. Eventually, the barrier between your gums and connective tissue breaks down and your gums begin receding from your teeth, creating an opening for oral bacteria to travel.
This allows the oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream and travel to any area of your body. As it travels through your bloodstream, the bacteria can stick to fatty plaques and directly contribute to blockages. If any of these plaques break off and block blood from traveling, it can easily lead to a heart attack.
How Bacteria and Inflammation Connect
Your doctor may have mentioned that one of the most common signs of heart disease and stroke is inflammation. Therefore, reducing inflammation in your body is key to staying healthy. When oral bacteria travels through your body, it actually triggers an inflammatory response, causing blood vessels to swell.
When blood vessels swell, it narrows their pathways and makes it more difficult for blood to flow. This can increase the risk of blood clots. If a blood clot occurs in an artery supplying blood to the brain, it can cause a thrombotic stroke, which can be lethal.
How to Protect Yourself in the Future
The best way to avoid these serious diseases is by practicing proper oral care at home and seeing your dentist every six months. Not only will brushing twice a day and flossing once a day remove plaque from your teeth and gums but will keep the barrier between your mouth and body intact. To ensure you don’t have gum disease, watch for the signs, including:
- Red gums
- Swelling gums
- And bleeding gums after eating, brushing, or flossing
If you notice these signs, you’ll want to schedule a visit to your dentist in Rocky River to get treatment. This may include deep cleaning, a method intended to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line. Afterwards, you’ll just need to brush and floss regularly to reduce and manage your symptoms.
Gum disease is easily preventable when you follow these oral care steps. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to learn more!
About the Author
Dr. William L. Eick graduated from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and has been practicing for over 20 years since then. He’s also an associate fellow at the World Clinical Laser Institute and taken numerous continuing education courses on laser dentistry to treat gum disease. To learn more about his treatments for gum disease and practice, contact him at (440) 333-1915 or visit his website.