While it’s long been suspected that a link existed between poor oral health and heart disease, more recent research suggests there is, indeed, a direct relationship. The experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons of OMSH in Houston, are committed to working diligently with patients to educate them on the potential risks associated with overall lack of dental health and increased incidences of oral pathology issues. The following discusses in further detail the relationship that can exist between declining oral health and cardiovascular disease.
Understanding Dental Health Issues
Before it’s possible to grasp the potential for a relationship between oral and cardiovascular disease, patients must first understand periodontal diseases. Periodontal, or gum, disease is caused by the uncontrolled spread of bacteria. Dental care professionals and research experts both suggest a sizable percentage of the U.S. population suffers from some level of periodontal disease. While oral health issues in their early stages may not be readily noticeable, those with advanced conditions will generally require some sort of extensive gingival care or surgical intervention by an oral maxillofacial surgeon.
How is Gum Disease Related to Heart Disease?
This has always been the question challenging researchers. It’s that uncontrolled spread of bacteria that appears to be the answer. When patients do not practice good oral health and hygiene habits, the bacteria causing oral inflammations enter the bloodstream. As a result, they can quickly travel to other parts of the body, like the heart. The generally accepted assumption is that the bacteria can attack a damaged portion of the heart through the bloodstream and exacerbate any issues. Endocarditis, atherosclerosis, and even strokes are believed to directly related to the bacteria originating in the oral cavity.
Even Minor Oral Issues Can Cause Major Problems
Most dental professionals today are convinced that even minor periodontal issues are capable of negatively impacting a patient’s general health. That’s why dental experts always encourage patients to schedule routine dental visits for exams and care. However, anyone with any of the following symptoms is encouraged to contact a dental practitioner immediately for an examination.
- Swollen or red gums
- Bleeding gums when eating or brushing
- Any changes in gums or teeth spacing
Any one or more of those symptoms are signs of potential gum disease, which should be addressed as soon as possible.
Ultimately, routine dental check-ups and continuing to receive proper oral care is crucial to overall physical health. Poor oral health can pose an increased risk of developing heart disease over time. For more information, or to schedule an oral evaluation, connect with OMSH of Houston at 832-509-4505.
Since February is American Heart Month, feel free to learn more about taking care of your teeth and your heart! Visit these resources for more information: