By Treating Gum Disease the Dentist Can Improve Your Heart Health

Visiting the dentist is important for the health of your entire body. Scientists have found a clear connection between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, 91 percent of people with a heart condition also suffer from unhealthy gums. This is compared to 66 percent of people without a heart condition. Research is ongoing to determine which condition typically starts first, but it is clear that having unhealthy gums is detrimental for your overall health.Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. In order to reduce risk factors many people will go on heart healthy diets, start exercising, and take medication. Getting teeth cleaned twice a year should be included in the list of preventative measures. Teeth cleanings give the dental hygienist the ability to remove bacteria and plaque from teeth and gums, including hard to reach places. This is important because brushing and flossing alone cannot reach everywhere inside of your mouth.The number one cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene and lack of dental care. You can reduce your risk by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using an antiseptic mouthwash and visiting the dentist twice a year. Early detection is the key for being able to treat the disease quickly before it creates additional health problems. Watch for signs of gum disease including swollen and red gums, bleeding, or pain when brushing and flossing. As gum disease becomes severe, more of your tooth will become exposed and start to look longer than normal. If you notice any of these symptoms, call and schedule a dental exam right away.Treating Gum DiseaseIf we identify signs of the first stage in gum disease which is most commonly known as gingivitis, it can be treated with a deep cleaning. In this procedure bacteria and plaque are removed from on, around, and under the gums. Once the bacteria are removed the gums can start to heal themselves and the symptoms should go away. When gum disease is left untreated for too long, pockets can start to form in the gum tissue and expose the tooth’s root system. This creates an opportunity for bacteria to attack the tooth and roots. Treatment is more intensive and may require a gum graft in addition to cleaning. In this procedure, tissue is grafted to the gums so that they can protect the tooth once more.We recommend that patients have their teeth cleaned by their dentist twice a year in order to avoid this type of oral health issue. Preventing and treating gum disease is easy when patients have regularly scheduled appointments because it gives us the ability to react quickly. This is also a more comfortable option for patients since teeth cleanings are pain-free and can be completed in an hour or less. Pregnant women should visit our office more frequently since gum disease has been known to induce premature labor. Additionally, diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar need to have teeth cleaned quarterly since infection can spread quickly. To learn more or to schedule an appointment call (617) 826-6075.

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