Did you know that practicing good dental hygiene can reduce your risk for some forms of heart disease? Research has shown that many of the same mechanisms behind aggressive dental diseases, mainly gum disease, can also prove hazardous to your systemic wellbeing. With inflammation as the major common denominator, gum disease and heart disease are more closely related than many patients realize.
The Big Deal About Gum Disease
Like good heart health, good oral health is a lifelong endeavor. Every day, the bacteria that reside in your mouth form a biofilm called dental plaque to protect them as they grow and multiply. Some of these germs directly harm your oral tissues, such as Streptococcus mutans that produce acid to destroy your tooth enamel. Porphyromonas gingivalis, commonly known as the gum disease germ, has the ability to evade your body’s immune system by producing molecules to camouflage itself. Inflammation, your body’s attempt to drive out infectious microorganisms, can damage soft tissue when it occurs excessively. As long as P. gingivalis haunt your periodontal tissues, the resulting inflammation can destroy your gums and jawbone that lies underneath.
The Continuing Dangers of Inflammation
Because of the destruction it wreaks in your gums and jawbone, which support your teeth by their roots, severe gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Because of the damage to your gums, biting, chewing, and brushing your teeth can release oral bacteria into your bloodstream. If P. gingivalis and other germs are allowed to travel throughout your body, they can incite harmful inflammation in other areas, including your heart’s tissues and arteries.
Protect Your Periodontal and Heart Health
According to research, P. gingivalis infection can exacerbate atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that often leads to heart attack and failure. P. gingivalis have also been found in the plaque deposits blocking the arteries of some heart disease patients. To learn more about protecting your periodontal and heart health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania by calling her periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.