Your mouth could be revealing more than you realize.
That isn’t a criticism of your poker face. It’s a reflection of growing research that links periodontal disease and heart disease.
Last year, the American Society for Microbiology published a study on this connection in its journal, Infection and Immunity.
We will tell you more about the study in a moment, but for now, we want to remind you how important your gum health is to your oral health … and possibly your overall health.
The staff at Atlanta West Dentistry wants all our patients in and around Marietta, GA, to be as healthy as possible. We enjoy seeing your smiling faces, and we hope to see them for as long as possible.
Your Gums And Your Heart
Scientists have been aware that the bacteria that cause gum disease has been found in the coronary arteries of patients who have suffered heart attacks.
The researchers from Örebro University in Sweden were aware that this same bacteria had been shown to accelerate coronary problems in two animal species.
As part of their research, they cultured human heart muscle cells. When these cells were injected with the gum disease-causing bacteria, inflammation of the cells and atherosclerosis both increased.
Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. This also happens to be the cause of many heart attacks and strokes.
Without a doubt, more studies need to be conducted to learn more about the connection between this bacteria and hearts disease. We do this it’s safe to assume that you want to reduce this bacteria in your body whenever possible.
Preventing Gum Disease
What do you need to do to prevent gum disease? Dentists have been saying it for decades — brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly for routine cleanings and examinations.
Brushing and flossing should be part of your daily dental hygiene routine. Both are necessary to remove as many bacteria from your mouth as possible every day. These bacteria will multiply. If you don’t remove them daily, then you could be inviting problems.
Most people remember to brush their teeth, but not everyone is doing it for two minutes, twice a day. If you aren’t, then we recommend you start with the next time you brush your teeth.
The ADA also conducted a study on flossing habits. The results indicated that a majority of Americans do not floss daily and 1 in 5 Americans never flosses.
Coincidentally, the American Dental Hygienists Association reports that 80 percent of adults have some form of gum disease.
If you won’t use dental floss, please take some time to research alternatives for cleaning between your teeth. A couple examples include flossers and water irrigators.
Flossers have handles and U- or Y-shaped openings on one each. The opening has a piece of floss threaded between it. Some people find this a more comfortable way to floss.
Water irrigators use a stream of water to clean the spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Whether you use dental floss or another tool, please clean between your teeth and gums on a daily basis.
Cleanings, Examinations, & Treatment
Visiting the dentist twice a year is a good start with regard to professional dental cleanings. If you have a chronic oral health issue, then you may want to come more frequently.
During your visits to our office, you can count on two things. A dentist or hygienist will give your mouth a cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar buildup, which can increase your risk of gum disease.
We also will conduct a thorough examination to check for the signs of periodontal disease. If we see symptoms — bleeding gums, swollen gums, receding gums, just to give a few common examples — we will let you know.
We will also know what should be done to eliminate your gum infection. In the case of gingivitis, this may be as simple as being more deliberate about your brushing and flossing routine.
With periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease, you will need professional help to remove the infection.
Scaling and root planing could be used to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. Dental lasers can remove the infected tissues from your mouth, as well as seal the remaining healthy tissue.
In some case, antibiotics may be used to eliminate any remaining bacteria and to reduce the risk of another infection.
Have You Scheduled Your Next Appointment?
In the meantime, remember to brush and floss every day.