When it comes to protecting your smile from damage, combating tooth decay is a primary focus, but did you know there may be another danger lingering in your mouth? Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. Although it’s preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 50% of adults in American have a form of the infection. It wreaks havoc on your mouth, but it can also increase your risk of various health issues, including stroke. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to protect your smile and body from gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that develops in the gingival tissue as a result of bacteria found in tartar buildup. Often, it results from prolonged poor oral hygiene habits that haven’t effectively removed plaque.
At first, the infection may not seem very concerning because your gums are only swollen and red. They may even bleed when you brush your teeth. Over time, the complications will worsen without treatment.
Gum disease will destroy the supporting structures of your teeth, leading to tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter your bloodstream. As it circulates throughout your body, it can create a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease.
How Can Gum Disease Cause a Stroke?
Research shows at least 64 million Americans have gum disease while 1 person every 4 minutes dies from a stroke. It may not seem like the two conditions are connected, but they often go hand-in-hand. In fact, a person’s risk of heart disease can increase by 20% if they have gum disease.
When the bacteria from gum disease enters the bloodstream, the body responds with inflammation. This causes narrowing of arteries, making it more difficult for the heart to properly pump blood throughout the body.
Unfortunately, the risks don’t stop there. Research shows gum disease can increase your risk of several other health issues, including respiratory conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.
Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Although gum disease is common, you can prevent it by following a few simple tips:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth twice a day.
- Use a high-quality dental floss to clean in between each tooth daily.
- Visit your dentist in San Antonio twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
- Get treatment at the first sign of gum disease.
Invest in a Healthy Heart
Besides eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly, you can promote your heart health by maintaining your oral hygiene. Your dentist has the personalized solutions you need for optimal wellbeing.
About Dr. Racha W. Kadamani
Dr. Kadamani attended the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. She is supported by over 18 years of experience in the dental field to provide her patients with world-class care. She focuses on prevention to ensure smiles stay healthy for a lifetime; however, if a complication arises, our office offers the complete services you need to restore your dental health. If you have gum disease, don’t wait. Contact our office for an appointment.