Your mouth is the gateway to your entire body, making your dental health more important than you may think. In fact, keeping your mouth healthy can help you reduce the risk of health issues like heart disease and stroke. This is because bacteria that builds up in your mouth can access the rest of your body. Here’s how it works:

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease or “gum disease” is a condition where the bacteria in your mouth has hardened into plaque or tartar. This causes the gums to get inflamed and swollen. While you can treat mild periodontal disease with simple brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings, more severe gum disease needs to be addressed with a deep cleaning process called root planing and scaling. This treatment regimen allows your dentist to clean all of the plaque and tartar from beneath your gums, giving you a chance to keep your teeth.

How Can Bacteria from My Mouth Affect My Heart Health?

When periodontal disease infects a person’s mouth, their dental health isn’t the only thing at risk. The bacteria that is causing gum inflammation can lead to hardened arteries, making it difficult for blood to navigate the circulatory system successfully.

Additionally, your gums are filled with blood vessels. When bacteria penetrates the gums, it also accesses your circulatory system. This means that bacteria which started by infecting your mouth can end up affecting your whole body.

Finally, scientists have found that the bacteria which causes periodontal disease can also trigger strokes. They found that when patients have excellent oral health habits and are not suffering from periodontal disease, less of this bacteria is found infecting the heart.

What Are My Best Options for Oral Care?

If you are worried that your dental care is affecting your overall health, you aren’t alone. Many Americans are suffering from periodontal disease – and there is effective treatment available to you. Here’s what you can do if you suspect you have periodontal disease:

  1. Visit your dentist. Self-diagnosis can cause more anxiety than it’s worth. Come on in for a full dental checkup and cleaning. If you have periodontal disease, you and Dr. Andersen can discuss the best options for your dental health.
  2. Keep up your at-home dental care. Flossing and brushing regularly, coupled with the appropriate dental cleanings can help you beat periodontal disease and prevent it from returning.
  3. Consider lifestyle changes. Many people who suffer from periodontal disease also have unhealthy habits or other health issues that they could be treating more effectively. Many periodontal disease sufferers are smokers or have poor diets. They may also have untreated diabetes or other severe medical conditions that have gone unchecked. Getting a full checkup from a doctor and considering healthy lifestyle changes can go far in beating periodontal disease for good.

Are you local to our Vancouver, Washington office? Make an appointment for your next dental checkup and cleaning. We are happy to discuss your health concerns and help you find ways to live a healthier life.