August 17, 2017

You might think it’s a joke if your periodontist tells you to have your blood pressure checked. After all, how would he know? But it is true; your periodontist may indeed be the one to spot a larger issue with your health. How? By simply observing your gums. Signs of gum disease include redness, swelling and bleeding of your gums. Left unchecked, gum disease can spread bacteria to your heart, where it can cause heart disease and put you at risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Luckily, taking good care of your teeth and seeing your periodontist on a regular basis can help keep those problems in check, although it does not mean your heart is free of risk from other health factors. Dr. Gregory A. Toback of Shoreline Periodontics and Dental Implants understands the relation between healthy gums and a healthy heart.

Stages of Gum Disease

There are three stages of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage, and it signifies plaque buildup, which irritates the gum. You may have some bleeding when brushing and flossing, but it is still early enough to reverse the damage.
  • Periodontitis: Your teeth support system of tissue and bone is damaged. Pockets beneath the gum line gather food and plaque and fill with pus, but treatment and good oral care can halt additional harm.
  • Advanced periodontitis: The support system is ruined, allowing teeth to loosen or shift. Teeth may need removal if treatment is unsuccessful.

Bacteria Enters Bloodstream

Gingivitis does not play a role in heart disease. However, the other two stages may. Studies show when gums are inflamed due to disease, the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to the heart. Additional studies show bacteria from gum disease can also contribute to hardened arteries, which put you at risk of stroke and heart attack.

Good oral health is key to keeping not only your teeth healthy, but the rest of your body too. If you think you may have gingivitis or more advanced gum disease, contact periodontist Dr. Toback of Shoreline Periodontics and Dental Implants for a consultation.



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