February is American Heart Health Month and National Gum Disease Awareness Month. Did you know that these 2 pieces of your health are actually linked? In fact, an increasing number of studies show a relationship between the health of your gums and the health of your heart. In an effort to raise awareness on the importance of keeping your gums healthy, your dentist in Naples has explained some of the risks and prevention tips for gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, an infection and inflammation of your gums, can also affect your supportive tissue and bone. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to damage of your gums and even tooth loss. The earliest stage, gingivitis, can be reversed by good oral healthcare and routine visits to your dentist. However, if the disease persists, it can leave permanent damage to your oral health.
This disease is typically caused by plaque and tartar buildup from poor oral healthcare. Smoking and the use of tobacco products can also contribute to gum disease. Additionally, you may be at a greater risk of gum disease if you have a family medical history or have an existing immune disorder.
How Can Gum Disease Affect Your Heart?
In addition to the damage that gum disease can do to your mouth, recent studies have linked it with more serious overall health issues. Studies have shown that gum disease can increase your chance of cardiovascular disease and related issues by 20%. It also increases your risk of other problems like stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Gum disease can be treated using 2 common methods: scaling and root planing and antibiotics. With scaling and root planing, your dentist will clean away plaque and food debris from above and below your gumline. Then, they will smooth out your tooth roots to make it harder for plaque to buildup under your gums in the future.
If you’re especially susceptible to gum disease, your dentist may recommend antibiotic therapy after the scaling and root planing. This is medicine applied to your gums that will help you fight infection even after you leave the office.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Thankfully, preventing gum disease is simple! Use these tips to keep your gums in shape for a healthy heart:
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day
- Use antibacterial mouthwash
- Quit smoking or using tobacco
- Maintain biannual checkups with your dentist
If you notice red, bleeding, swollen, or tender gums, contact your dentist right away for treatment. That way, you can keep your mouth and heart as healthy as possible.
About the Practice
At Galleria Dentistry, we have a team of 3 dentists who take the time to build relationships with their patients. They understand the link between gum disease and your overall health, which is why they want you to know the importance of healthy gums. For any questions, they can be contacted through their website or by phone at (239) 249-8582.