Having gum disease isn't fun for anyone. It can be painful, gums can bleed, and without treatment, it can potentially lead to total tooth loss. However, that's not where the problems of gum disease stop. If you think you might have gum disease and haven't sought treatment, you should know that putting it off could potentially put your heart at risk. Here's how something like gum disease can potentially hurt your heart.
The gums and the heart aren't directly connected, but everything in the body is loosely connected to the heart. That is to say, if your heart is responsible for pumping blood, then all of your blood will eventually pass through the heart, regardless of where it came from in your body. This is where the problem begins.
When you have gum disease, the bacteria responsible for it runs rampant both on the surface and under the surface of your gums. If this bacteria makes it to the bloodstream, it can go everywhere in your body, including the heart. Once the bacteria makes its way there, it can wreak havoc.
To make matters worse, sometimes bacteria isn't the only culprit. The overall inflammation and plaque that comes with gum disease can also potentially cause inflammation in your heart or cause plaque to spread through the bloodstream.
Damage Caused by Gum Disease
When your heart is exposed to the bacteria linked to your gum disease, it can cause a lot of problems. Scientists and doctors now believe that there is a link between poor gum health and cardiovascular problems. Bacteria can potentially infect other tissues, like the heart, or it can cause severe inflammation and irritation, which can lead to scar tissue. If scar tissue develops and partially blocks the entry or exit points of the heart that blood flows through, you could experience heightened blood pressure.
Getting care for your gum disease is the best way to protect yourself from this happening to you. Unfortunately, many people don't even know that they have periodontal disease, as it can manifest with few symptoms in the early stages.
Thankfully, treatment for gum disease is typically easy. Dentists are well-trained in reversing even the most severe forms of gum disease. Depending on your severity, you may only need something as simple as a thorough cleaning at your dentist's office to reverse it, or you may need a more intensive procedure like removal of damaged and diseased gum tissue.
Whether you think you have gum disease or not, you should visit a dentist if it's been a while. Doing so can mean all the difference between whether your heart is being harmed by your gum disease or not. Talk to a dentist if you want to know more about this problem.