upclose of man with inflamed gumsThe importance of great oral health simply cannot be emphasized enough. Not only does excellent oral care help keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it also keeps your confidence up because you’ve taken good care of your pearly whites and the gums that surround them. Regular visits to your Sandhills, NC dentist (at least every six months) and daily brushing and flossing (at least twice per day) will certainly contribute to your oral health and general health because oral health is linked to heart health.

The health of your mouth is closely tied to other systems in your body, including the cardiovascular system. You can contribute to good heart health by practicing good oral hygiene, especially by taking care of your gums. Tooth decay, gum disease, and periodontal disease will wreak havoc on oral health and will certainly affect your general health. Gum disease, referred to medically as “gingivitis,” is the milder form of gum disease; periodontitis is a more serious form of periodontal disease that damages the gums supporting your teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Inflammation is the key to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis causes red, tender, painful, swollen gums and will lead to periodontitis, which is characterized by pockets of pus. Think of periodontal disease as an umbrella term for any degree of unhealthy gums—from simply red and tender to infected with pus to the point a periodontist will have to treat the problem.

If you have not been to your Aberdeen, North Carolina general dentist in a while, or you feel your gums are showing signs of gum disease, please read on to learn more about periodontal disease in Pinehurst, NC, and how dentists treat this potentially life-threatening problem.

The Heart Disease and Periodontal Disease Link

The link between periodontal disease and heart disease has long been studied. While no scientific link has been established, the connections between gum health and heart health are inarguable.

According to an article on the Harvard Medical School website, “Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film dentists refer to as plaque builds up around teeth.” When this happens, another type of plaque that’s made up of fat, cholesterol, and calcium may build inside the arteries in your body. Atherosclerosis is the name of the condition of having fatty plaque in your arteries; atherosclerosis can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.

The Harvard Medical School article further indicates that people with periodontal disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular events as people who do not have periodontal disease. While not everyone with gum disease will have a heart attack, and not everyone who’s had a heart attack has gum disease, those two groups do often share many risk factors. Shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association between gum disease and heart attacks. An unhealthy diet and smoking are two common factors between the two, and researchers, doctors, and dentists hold fast to the assertion that there is a definite link between periodontal disease and heart attacks.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

The most surefire way to know you have periodontal disease is to have your Aberdeen, NC general dentist diagnose it, but in the meantime, you can look for these signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Build up of hard brown spots along the gum line
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth that have moved apart

Learn More About the Periodontal Disease-Heart Disease Link

The experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable North Carolina dentists at Kuhn Dental Associates stand ready to evaluate your oral health. Using advanced dental technology to diagnose and treat periodontal disease, our dentists and dental team members can treat existing gum disease, prevent further gum/tooth damage, and teach you the best methods for taking care of your gums and teeth.

Why wait another day to make an appointment with an Aberdeen, NC dentist like the ones at Kuhn Dental Associates, serving Pinehurst, Aberdeen, Sandhills, and surrounding areas of North Carolina? You may call (910) 692-4450 to schedule an evaluation, or please fill out our online contact form. One of our dental team members will reach out to you shortly.