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You probably already know that gum disease is a bad thing. It makes you more susceptible to tooth decay, can result in the loss of teeth, and can even cause severe infections that could threaten your life. However, did you know that having gum disease may also be linked to heart disease? Statistically speaking, Harvard Health states that people with active gum disease are between two and three times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. As a result, gum disease is far more threatening than you may have previously thought.
How Are They Linked?
Research into the connection between gum disease and an increased likelihood of cardiovascular events is still ongoing. There is much to discover, and scientists are by no means certain as to what causes the increase. However, they do have working theories that many of them agree are plausible. The most frequently stated theory with the most consensus is that the link is due to inflammation.
Patients with gum disease experience chronic inflammation, as their bodies attempt to fight the bacteria living beneath the gum line. In the short term, inflammation is an important tool in your body’s arsenal. It helps to deliver the immune response efficiently.
Unfortunately, many people live with gum disease for long periods of time. Therefore, the inflammation becomes chronic, an almost constant state. When inflammation lasts for long periods, it stresses the body, aggravating conditions that may not have been directly harmful before.
In another vein of inquiry, some researchers have found evidence of oral bacteria in the fatty deposits of patients with increased levels of plaque along their arterial walls. These researchers argue that these deposits could result in higher rates of cardiovascular events in patients with gum disease. The reason being that each deposit has the potential to partially block an artery. This could cause a heart attack or stroke.
The explanations behind the connection between gum disease and heart disease has not fully developed to a point where scientists can confidently agree on one link between the two. However, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the existing evidence. Regardless of the cause, there is a clear possibility that gum disease could put you at greater risk, and that possibility should be enough to spur you to action.
Fortunately, gum disease is rather easy to keep at bay as long as you follow a good, daily hygiene routine. And visit your dentist for your regularly scheduled appointments! By flossing once a day and brushing at least twice a day, you remove potentially harmful bacteria and food particles. This prevents them from finding a cozy home beneath your gum-line and festering there. However, there is a possibility that you may already have gum disease. If your gums bleed when you floss, look red or swollen, or if you’re plagued by bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away, it is best that you make an appointment with your periodontist Los Angeles as soon as possible. Patients who exhibit these symptoms most likely have early to mid-stage gum disease.
You will need to undergo a thorough evaluation by your periodontist, who will tell you what can reverse the damage. Typically, we can help with the best periodontal disease treatment Los Angeles has to offer. In many cases, where the disease has not become severe, this can be achieved through root planing. The procedure is essentially a thorough teeth cleaning that reaches under the gum line, down towards the root, to remove built-up plaque and bacteria. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may require crowning damaged teeth or removing damaged teeth.
The Hard Facts
There is no existing evidence that dealing with your gum disease will reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event. Researchers struggle to isolate the two factors in human subjects. That being said, it is still important to treat gum disease as a serious illness with serious consequences. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, reach out to your periodontist and schedule an exam.