When people think about doing what they can to improve their heart health and reduce their risk of having a stroke or heart attack, chances are gum health isn't at the top of the list. Surprisingly, it is a mistake to not take your gums into consideration. Here's what gum disease is and how your gums and heart are linked.
The Cause of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by an overwhelming amount of bacteria in the mouth. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can help to control this bacteria. However, when bacteria is left to its own devices, it can trigger long-term inflammation and infection of the gums. This is what's known as gingivitis, or in its extreme stage, periodontitis.
Unfortunately, bacteria rarely stays in one place, and the same can be said for gum disease. Once an infection has made it's way into the tissue of your gums, it's not hard for it to migrate to your bloodstream.
Once the bacteria enter the blood, there's a chance that they could cause infections elsewhere in your body, especially if you have a weakened immune system. This is the reason why doctors and scientists believe there's a link between poor gum health and the heart. Bacteria can travel through the bloodstream until it reaches the heart, then it can infect the tissues there and potentially cause heart failure.
Wherever the bacteria roam, they're doing damage. Even if they don't make it to the heart, you may have other cardiovascular problems. For example, long-term exposure to bacteria in your arteries and veins can cause hardening or the development of scar tissue from being repeatedly attacked by bacteria. Unfortunately, until you control the bacteria at the source and get rid of the infection, the damage will continue.
What to Do
If you suspect that you have gum disease or have been diagnosed with it, you need to visit a dentist. Your teeth and gums are obviously at risk, but so are your heart and arteries.
Your dentist can beat your gum infection in no time, whether it's in early or advanced stages. Once it's been beaten, the bacteria remaining in your blood will ultimately be defeated by your immune system. Without new bacteria to replace them, you shouldn't experience any additional risk of infection or cellular damage.
Having sick gums can put your entire body at risk from life-threatening conditions like a heart attack. Whether you're currently considered to be at risk for heart disease, strokes, or simply want to do what you can to improve your health and prolong your life, you need to take care of your gums.
If you’re interested in finding out more, about caring for your gums, visit a site such as http://www.brooksidedentalgroup.com.