How Brushing and Flossing Helps Your Heart: The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

How Brushing and Flossing Helps Your Heart: The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

How Brushing and Flossing Helps Your Heart: The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

Regular brushing and flossing can protect the health of your heart by protecting the health of your gums. Although the heart and gums might seem like unrelated parts of the body, more and more research has demonstrated that the health of the cardiovascular system and a person’s gums are actually closely correlated.

The presence of periodontal (gum) disease specifically has been shown to increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other significant cardiovascular event by as much as three times. Although having heart disease doesn’t always indicate the presence of periodontal disease and vice versa, the research demonstrating a connection between the two simply cannot be ignored:

  • One study which focused on individuals diagnosed with both cardiovascular and periodontal disease found that individuals who received proper treatment for periodontal disease incurred 10% to 40% lower cardiovascular-related medical costs than individuals who did not receive treatment for gum disease.
  • A review of studies performed by the National Institutes of Health concluded that periodontal disease increases an individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 20%.
  • Another study found that individuals with periodontal disease were 49% more likely to suffer a heart attack than individuals with healthy gums. The same research also revealed a significantly higher percentage of periodontal disease in patients with cardiovascular disease than in individuals without heart disease (43% compared to 33%).

Medicine does not yet fully understand the nature of the connection between periodontal disease and heart health. Based on existing research, however, taking care of your gums to take care of your heart seems to be sound medical advice.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and structures surrounding the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, and alveolar bone). Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar build up along the gum line and create pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria grow and thrive.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Swollen and/or tender gums
  • Bright-red gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding (especially after brushing or flossing)
  • Sensitivity
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss

Dentists always assess gum health during regular dental cleanings and exams, looking for signs of periodontal disease. If, however, you notice any unusual symptoms outside of the dental chair, we recommend scheduling an appointment right away.


Protecting Your Gums and Heart

The best way to prevent gum disease and its potential systemic risks to the cardiovascular system is by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush and floss at least twice a day and schedule regular dental exams and professional cleanings. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, there are special treatments available. Our dentists will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for managing periodontal disease to protect the health of both your gums and heart. Our practice offers irrigation, Arestin, & laser gum therapy.

To learn more about periodontal disease and laser gum therapy treatment, click here.

Contact Cardinal Dental to schedule your next dental checkup today.

What Your Lost Teeth Didn’t Tell You About Dental Implants

What Your Lost Teeth Didn’t Tell You About Dental Implants

What Your Lost Teeth Didn’t Tell You About Dental Implants

Most adults start out with a full set of 32 teeth. Whether due to injury, tooth decay, gum disease, or another oral health problem, many have lost at least one permanent tooth by age 45, and 25% of Americans over the age of 65 are missing all of their teeth. If you’ve lost a tooth (or several) to something other than the tooth fairy, read on to find out why it’s important to replace lost teeth and why dental implants are one of the best ways to restore your smile.

Why Replacing Lost Teeth Is Crucial

Many falsely believe that replacing missing teeth is purely a cosmetic practice. Often, people who are missing a molar that isn’t readily visible, assume there’s no reason to replace it. This belief, however, is a misconception. Sure, teeth missing toward the front of the mouth pose a cosmetic concern, but missing a tooth anywhere in your mouth can cause additional problems. For example, your back teeth are meant to bear most of the occlusal forces of your bite, if you are missing one or more back teeth, the remaining teeth not only shift around and alter the bite, but are forced to bear the same load (in other words the same bite force is distributed over fewer teeth. As a result, teeth are more susceptible to fracture and a ‘domino effect’ of tooth loss can begin.

Jaw Bone Degeneration

When you bite down, the pressure of your upper tooth on lower tooth stimulates and strengthens the section of jaw bone directly beneath or above those two teeth. When a tooth goes missing, the bone beneath the missing tooth no longer receives pressure. As a result, a person’s jaw bone will begin to degenerate and shrink directly below the empty space, or spaces, in the mouth where teeth are missing. This not only causes problems with a person’s bite alignment, but can also alter a person’s physical appearance.

Speech Problems

Although the tongue receives most of the credit, teeth also play an important role in speech and enunciation. Individuals who are missing teeth often have trouble speaking as clearly as they used to.

Difficulty Eating

Missing teeth can also lead to significant difficulty during mealtimes.


Why Choose Dental Implants?

Thankfully, several methods for replacing lost teeth have been developed and, with modern dentistry, are incredibly effective at comfortably restoring full sets of teeth. Depending on each individual’s specific dental needs, teeth replacement treatments range from full dentures, partial dentures, and bridges to of course, dental implants.

A dental implant replaces a missing tooth’s root and acts as an anchor to hold a replacement tooth (crown) in place. They are typically installed during at least two separate appointments. Dental implants are a permanent replacement for missing teeth, can replace one or several lost teeth, and are the most natural-feeling option for tooth replacement. Since implants are anchored in the jaw bone, unlike dentures and bridges, they prevent bone loss, and they never damage neighboring teeth.

Restore Your Smile — Schedule a Consultation with Cardinal Dental Today

If your mouth no longer holds a full set of teeth, we welcome you to schedule a smile restoration appointment at Cardinal Dental. Our dentist will work with you to determine the best treatment method to improve both the appearance and functionality of your teeth.

Click here to learn more about implants.

If you have any questions or schedule an appointment, contact us today.