Statistics say that over a third of adults over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. That number might not sound like that much, but pair it with gum disease a leading killer of older adults, and you have a more serious problem.
But where’s the connection between the two? They dont seem similar, and it’s not like a trip to our New Albany dentist office will leave you with a diagnosis of heart disease. The connection lies in the cause, symptoms, and risks that the two share. With so close a connection it’s easy to see how the signs of gum disease, which may seem benign, could indicate a serious life-threatening problem.
Different Conditions, Similar Risks
There’s a lot of two way streets inside your body. When signs of a disease or illness show in one area they’re often doing so because of another problem that’s going on somewhere completely unnoticed. Take your heart for example.
Heart disease is a condition that involves a buildup of plaque in the arteries leading to your heart. The constriction of blood flow to the heart can lead to a heart attack, and it’s all because of a buildup of plaque in your arteries.
To be clear, the plaque in your arteries isn’t the same kind that’s in your teeth: arterial plaque is made up of fats and oils that are deposited over the years, whole oral plaque is a biofilm made up of bacteria. The worrying portion of the two is just how often they’re both present, and how similar their risk factors are.
The Common Factors
There are three conditions that are significant risk factors for both heart and gum diseases. To be clear, having any of these conditions isn’t a guarantee of developing either one, but it is does mean your risk is much greater.
- Tobacco use changes the bacterial count in your mouth, making you plaque more harmful and able to do damage to your gums easier. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke is a major stressor on your cardiovascular system too. It weakens veins, makes it harder for your lungs to circulate oxygen, and basically wears everything out prematurely.
- A poor diet can contribute to gum disease and heart disease simply because you’re taking in a lot more foods that are harmful. Sugar, for example, is how oral bacteria produces dangerous acids, while fats and oils are the main source of arterial plaque. Salt raises blood pressure as well, upping the chances of developing hypertension and other heart conditions.
- Diabetes not only weakens your resistance to gum disease, it also leads to hypertension and a high risk of heart disease. Excess sugars in the bloodstream increase the growth of plaque, and constant inflammation due to metabolic syndrome can be a final straw that pushes your body past its limits.
It can seem like there isn’t much hope when you think about gum disease and heart disease like this. There is hope, however, and a lot of it comes in the form of good oral health care.
Working To Prevent One Disease Is Working To Prevent The Other
Like we said above, none of the risk factors guarantee you’ll end up with heart or gum disease, just like how having gum disease doesn’t mean your heart’s in trouble as well. When you find yourself confronting the possibility of these diseases there’s only one thing you can do: try your hardest to eliminate every possible cause.
At New Albany Implants we recommend starting with controlling gum disease risks. You’ll be eliminating the same problems, saving yourself in more ways than one!
- Quit smoking. There’s no two ways around it: tobacco use in any form is extremely bad for your health over the long term you will pay for it in pain, medical expenses, and regret.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that treats your teeth and body right. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and you’ll fight off some serious health problems. We’re always willing to help make dietary suggestions – just as during your next appointment!
- If you aren’t yet a diabetic make sure you’re taking steps not to become one. If you’re already suffering from the condition there isn’t much you can do aside from working hard to keep it in check. Patients who successfully manage diabetes can avoid many of the health complications that come with it.
Don’t Forget Your Checkups
Managing dangerous conditions like gum and heart disease can be assisted by what you do at home, but ultimately there needs to be professional dental care involved as well. If you’re concerned about developing or worsening these conditions don’t let it happen – call our New Albany office today!