The Link Between Your Oral Health and Your Heart

About half of American adults over the age of 30 have gum disease. It’s a very common condition that develops when bacteria build up on teeth, triggering irritation and inflammation of the gums. 

Gum disease hurts your oral health because it can cause inflammation, bone loss, and even tooth loss over time. But did you know that it might damage more than your mouth? A growing number of studies indicate that gum disease and poor oral health are linked to an increased risk of heart problems, like heart attack and stroke. 

At Silicon Valley Dental Associates, we’re here to help you fight gum disease to keep your mouth and your heart as healthy as possible. Our dental team specializes in comprehensive oral care, including teeth cleanings and laser treatment for gum disease.

Even if you’re diagnosed with gum disease, you don’t have to let your health suffer. Treatment is very effective to get you back on track for overall wellness.

Gum disease linked to poor heart health

Gum disease generally refers to two conditions: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and if it’s left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Gum disease develops when plaque — a sticky film of bacteria — builds up on your teeth and gums.

Gingivitis is characterized by swollen gums that may bleed when you floss your teeth. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease, and it can cause symptoms like inflammation, infection, bone deterioration, and tooth loss.

Your oral health and your heart health might seem unrelated, but studies show that having gum disease makes you two to three times more likely to suffer a cardiovascular emergency like a heart attack or stroke. There’s evidence that gum disease influences heart health, but researchers don’t fully understand the links. 

A few common threads include similar risk factors, like smoking and certain dietary habits, and increased inflammation in the body. Gum disease causes inflammation, which hardens arteries over time. Hardened arteries are a leading risk factor for heart disease and other heart conditions.

Keeping your mouth (and your heart) healthy

Gum disease is very common, but we offer a range of treatment options to prevent, stop, and reverse damage. Research shows that your oral health is linked to your heart health, and the good news is that improving your oral health has heart-healthy benefits, too.

When you’re diagnosed with gum disease, our dentists evaluate the extent of your condition to recommend the right type of treatment. Scaling and root planing are two procedures, often done together, that deep clean teeth below your gum line.

We also offer LANAP® laser gum disease treatment, a safe and effective option to eliminate gum disease. Laser treatment removes diseased tissue without harming healthy tissue, for significant results without long recovery times.

Along with comprehensive dental care at Silicon Valley Dental Associates, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to enhance your oral health and your heart health. Eat a diet that’s high in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, and keep carbohydrates and sugar to a minimum. Don’t smoke, or get help to quit if you do.

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and be sure to schedule dental checkups twice a year. Being proactive about your health and addressing signs of gum disease early on is the best way to reduce inflammation, take strain off your heart, and improve your health.

Fight gum disease and do good for your heart at the same time. Schedule your next dental appointment at Silicon Valley Dental Associates. Call us at 408-898-4384 or book online today.

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