It may seem a little strange that there is a direct connection between health problems such as strokes and heart disease and something so seemingly insignificant as gum disease, but there is definitely a casual link. Studies have demonstrated that having periodontal disease makes you more likely to suffer a stroke, and if a patient has acute cerebrovascular ischemia, it is very likely that patient has gum disease.
Periodontal disease is diagnosed when there is infectious bacteria in the gums around a patient’s teeth, and it gets worse the longer that it is left untreated. As it progresses, it eats away the gum leaving pockets where more bacteria can grow, and as gum and bone is destroyed it becomes more likely that teeth fall out.
When the coronary artery wallsbecome filled with fatty proteins, they build up and create coronary heart disease which means that not enough oxygen is getting to the heart. This forces the heart to work faster and harder to keep oxygen levels at the current level.
Over time, patients with coronary heart disease often develop blood clots, clotting up the arteries and preventing nutrients and oxygen from moving around the body, which is the key reason for heart attacks.
Understanding The Connection
Absolutely no scientific mind will doubt that there is a certain link between gum disease and exacerbating a heart condition, and so your dentist and your cardiologist will want to work together to ensure that you keep as healthy as possible. There are three main theories about how this connection exists:
- Oral bacteria impact the heart. Some types of oral bacteria are able to enter the blood stream and travel around the body, and this means that they are able to access the fatty build-up of proteins around heart, increasing the number of clots.
- When gum disease attacks your gums, your body will attempt to fight back using c-reactive proteins, which in large numbers can increase heart disease.
- Infectious susceptibility. Patients who have high levels of bacteria in their mouth often also have a weak immune system, and this means that other health problems can get worse much more quickly, and vascular side effects have been thought to create some types of heart disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Anyone who is has heart problems must be vigilant against the onset of periodontal disease. Your dentist will conduct a full examination of you to understand the state of your gums, jawbone, and teeth, which also may include x-rays. Then they will carry out a deep clean to remove as much bacteria as possible from your mouth so that it does not continue to grow, using scaling and root planing treatments to remove the tartar. Antibiotics may be given to you in order to ensure that all traces of the bacteria are destroyed.
For a free consultation to find out if gum disease may be a problem for you, call (619) 640-5100