Gum Disease Risk FactorsDid you know that individuals who suffer from gum (periodontal) disease are almost as twice as likely to have heart disease than those without it? Our mouths our full of bacteria, and gum disease begins when the sticky, colorless bacteria-laden film (otherwise known as plaque) builds up around your teeth and causes an infection that affects  and damage to the tissues that surround and support your teeth.  If good dental habits are not established, the formed plaque hardens and forms a “tarter” that regular brushing alone cannot clean; only your dentist can do that.

The reasons behind the link amongst heart disease and gum disease are not completely clear at the present moment, but new findings have been strengthening the link between the cardiovascular system and the health of your mouth. Individuals that were never educated on good dental habits, and those without access to good dental care, might lack the knowledge and the resources to keep gum disease at bay. Inflammation is a common thread between these two conditions, and some researchers suspect that those who suffer from gum disease can release bacteria into the bloodstream every time they chew or brush their teeth. These inflammatory substances can build up within the blood, and can worsen the symptoms of chronic conditions. In fact, the cholesterol-laden plaque that clogs the arteries in individuals with heart disease has been found to contain several species of bacteria that cause gum disease.

Last August, a report released from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that by treating gum disease, even if you had just one periodontal disease treatment, you may lower your health care costs, as well as reduce the number of times you are hospitalized if you suffer from cardiovascular disease. This study examined the dental and health records of 339,000 patients; each person was suffering from gum disease, in addition to one of the following conditions: pregnancy, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebrovascular disease, or cardiovascular disease. Overall, researchers found their findings to be substantial, as well as statistically important; according to the researchers, all of the participants (with the exception of those with rheumatoid arthritis) who had at least one gum disease treatment had lower medical cost, as well as fewer hospitalizations compared to those who weren’t treated.

In order to help reduce the body’s burden of infection and inflammation, be sure to have good dental habits, and are getting regular dental checkups because it may help improve your health. If you are in the NYC metro area and are in need of a dentist, click here to contact us.