Failure to maintain your oral health through daily brushing and flossing can lead to a number of complications, including cavities and periodontal disease. These conditions not only increase the risk of tooth loss and infection but can also have a detrimental effect on the health of your heart. Learn how your oral health is linked to your heart health with this overview.
Cavities and Gum Disease
It is important to understand the effects of cavities and periodontal disease in order to fully comprehend how they can impact your heart health. Cavities are caused by the buildup of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar. When this plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it can extend below your gum line and cause gingivitis, inflaming the delicate tissues designed to keep your teeth in place, and infecting the dental pulp within each tooth. Untreated gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, or a more serious infection of your gum tissues that allows oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
Gum Disease and Your Heart
When the bacteria from un-removed plaque and tartar enters your bloodstream, it can attach to the fatty plaques within your coronary arteries and blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clot formation and coronary artery disease, a disease characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to a buildup of fatty proteins. Both blood clots and coronary artery disease obstruct your body’s natural blood flow, denying your heart of the essential nutrients and oxygen it needs to function properly, ultimately increasing the risk of heart attacks. Studies also suggest that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease can increase plaque buildup and cause the coronary arteries to swell, increasing the chances of heart disease and heart attack. Furthermore, individuals with existing heart conditions may experience worsened symptoms in the event that they develop periodontal disease.
Don’t let gum disease and periodontitis increase your risk for heart problems. Let the general and cosmetic dentists with Cascade Dental help you maintain your oral hygiene—contact us at (360) 213-1999. You can also set up a consultation online.