Connecting the Dots Between Heart Disease, Stroke and Periodontal Disease

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Have you recently been to the doctor due to heart-related issues? Or maybe you recently had a stroke? It may be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause, but one problem that may be the reason is periodontal disease.

The relation between oral health and overall health has been examined more in recent years as studies continue to show periodontal disease (gum disease) may be a factor in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. They can be in relation and a result of one another. Those with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease, and those diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke (brain injury caused by blocked blood vessels) are more likely to have gum disease.

Some problems searched for when looking at the link between these diseases include examining for gum disease in the mouth, cavities, missing teeth and high amounts of bacterial growth. Dr. Nicholas and her team of specialists are here to help you keep up your oral health and make sure you have the right treatment to prevent gum disease.

One question you may have is how does your oral health affect your heart. When you have bacteria resting and growing in your mouth, it can enter the bloodstream through the gums. These oral bacteria stick to fatty plaques in the bloodstream, ultimately building up and creating blockages. Triggering an inflammatory response, this causes the blood vessels to swell which increases the likelihood of clots and reducing blood flow throughout the body.

To ensure you avoid these bacteria affecting your heart and overall health, you will want to follow some of these guidelines:

– Replace any missing teeth. One option includes dental implants, which fills in any missing teeth and helps you avoid your gums being exposed in that area.
– Get rid of periodontal disease or any signs of it. Depending on the extent of damage, Dr. Nicholas will recommend treatment to help treat and get rid of unwanted bacteria.
– Follow the basic guidelines of dental care. Brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use mouthwash to flush out any remaining bacteria.
– No smoking or chewing tobacco. This not only invites bad bacteria but can damage your teeth and gums.
– Healthy diet and exercise will promote healthy teeth and gums.
– Attend your regular dental appointments. You want to attend them at least twice a year.
– Use products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. These are approved products that help you have a healthy, clean smile.

Some symptoms of gum disease include the following:

– Loose teeth
– Tenderness or pain when chewing or speaking
– Sensitivity, especially with hot or cold foods and liquids
– Tender or bleeding gums
– Bad breath (halitosis)
– Receding gums

To get the treatment you need to have not only a healthy smile but great overall health, give Dr. Nicholas and her team of specialists a call at 760-851-0314 to set up a consultation today. We are located in Palm Desert, California, and are happy to serve the people of Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs and neighboring communities of the Coachella Valley.