If you are concerned about the health of your heart, you probably already know to do some things to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. You have likely changed your diet and increased your level of exercise. However, there is something else you should do to reduce your cardiovascular risk: avoid or treat gum disease. That’s right. Gum disease isn’t just the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the US; it’s a significant contributor to your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you want to reduce your cardiovascular risk, it might be time to visit Boston dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy, at Divine Smiles.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is when bacteria infect the area around your teeth. Initially, these bacteria populate the small trenches around your teeth. As the population of bacteria grows, it causes damage to the space around your teeth, increasing the size of space around your teeth. You might notice swelling gums, redness, tender gums, bleeding, and more food getting stuck between your teeth and gums. Narrow foods like chips and popcorn husks are especially likely to get stuck there.
As the space grows, it damages not just the gums but the bone around your teeth. You’ll notice receding gums, but you’re also losing bone underneath your gums. With more space around your teeth, your teeth get loose and may drift.
With the infection worsening, your immune system responds in increasingly aggressive ways. By the time bacteria are attacking the bone around your teeth, the body may ramp up its immune response to destroy bacteria at any cost, including destroying the bone holding your teeth in place. This is where you are likely to see tooth loss from gum disease.
Visiting a Boston dentist helps reduce your gum disease because professional cleanings remove oral bacteria that you can’t remove at home. It also allows us to assess the level of your disease and determine whether you need more frequent regular cleanings or more aggressive cleanings.