When your gums are strong and healthy, then they work to support your teeth. However, when gums become infected by periodontal (gum) disease, then they can swell, bleed, recede, and deteriorate. This condition is not only harmful to the health of your mouth, but it can affect the health of your heart as well.
How does an oral infection affect heart health? While scientists are not sure about the exact cause, they believe it is due to oral bacteria. Periodontal disease produces a lot of harmful oral bacteria, and they often spread to the rest of the body through the blood stream. This is harmful for heart health because they may infect the inner lining of the heart, causing a condition called endocarditis which can destroy the heart valves.
Other issues periodontal bacteria can create in the heart are problems with the arteries. Oral bacteria can cause atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the heart’s arteries. This effect encourages plaque buildup on the walls of these arteries, which blocks the blood flow and can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
So how can you protect your gum health in order to protect your heart health. You need to follow the simple steps of maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine, visiting the dentist for checkups every six months, and eating a healthy diet. Call our dentist today if you want to learn more about how you can keep your mouth healthy.