May 11, 2019
Do your gums ever bleed when brushing or flossing? Maybe they feel tender during certain parts of your day? These could be the first signs that you have gum disease. This common disease affects 80% of Americans at some point in their lives, but its more advanced stages carry hidden risks. In fact, research has now linked gum disease with the health of your heart. Read on to learn more about how this common dental issue can have a negative impact on your heart and overall health.
What is Gum Disease?
An infection and inflammation of your gums, gum disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene that leads to plaque and tartar buildup. While its early stages can be reversed, prolonged gum disease can lead to permanent tissue and bone damage as well as tooth loss. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that problems with gum disease don’t stop with your oral health.
How Can Gum Disease Affect My Heart?
Gum disease has been affecting patients for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until recently that this disease was linked with a more serious issue: cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that gum disease can increase your risk of heart-related issues like heart attacks by 20%. This is due to the inflammation that this disease causes, which can actually lead to the narrowing of some of your more important arteries. Additionally, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s and other serious overall health issues.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum disease?
Because gum disease is reversible in its early stages, it’s vital that you can recognize its common signs and symptoms:
- Red or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that appear longer
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Changes in bite
If you do notice warning signs of this issue, contact your dentist right away for gum disease therapy. They will examine your gums and determine the best treatment option for you.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease from Affecting My Overall Health?
The best way of handling gum disease is preventing it from occurring in the first place! You can do this by following these easy yet useful tips:
- Visit your dentist for biannual checkups and cleanings.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, brushing your gumline at a 45-degree angle
- Floss your teeth daily to remove lingering plaque, bacteria, and food debris.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash (without alcohol) to clean areas of your mouth that brushing and flossing can’t reach.
- Avoid poor lifestyle habits like routine tobacco use and heavy consumption of alcohol.
Now that you know more about the link between gum disease and your heart, use these prevention tips for positive oral and overall health.
About the Practice
At STEC Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we have a team of 3 dentists who are experienced in stopping gum disease in its tracks as well as preventing it in the future. For any questions, they can be contacted through their website or by phone at (308) 382-4440.
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