Protect Your Heart Health with Healthy Gums in Burbank
Gums are a protective barrier to the body, blocking the millions of bacteria present in the mouth from entering the bloodstream. When bacteria infect the gums, recent research suggests it may lead to heart disease. Gums are very vascular, meaning they are full of blood vessels. When bacteria gain access to the bloodstream and begin circulating throughout the body, they can create complications for your heart health.
One way to know that bacteria are entering the bloodstream is if your gums are red, swollen or bleeding. Even minor infections in the gums allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. As bacteria circulate through the body, they can attach to fatty deposits in the heart vessels. This can cause blood clots and stroke.
Oral Health’s Influence on Heart Disease
Bacteria also trigger the body’s defense mechanism with inflammation, which is an outpouring of immune cells. Inflammation creates plaque buildup in arterial walls, known as atherosclerosis. When the arteries become so narrow that blood flow is restricted to the heart muscle, heart disease may result. If plaque breaks loose and clogs arteries, a person may have a heart attack or stroke.
Scientists have determined that oral bacteria can be found in the fatty deposits and plaque of those with atherosclerosis, and people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease. So, although the exact relationship between gum disease and heart disease is not perfectly understood, there is ample evidence to suggest that periodontal health should be a priority to maintain physical well-being.
Precautions for Those with Heart Conditions
Those with preexisting heart conditions need to take their periodontal health seriously as well because they are at increased risk of bacterial endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s inner lining and valves. People with heart conditions are often prescribed antibiotics to protect their hearts before undergoing any dental procedure. Here are some of the reasons people take antibiotics as a precaution before dental treatment:
- Artificial Heart Valves
- History of Endocarditis
- Congenital Heart or Heart Valve Defects
- Heart Valves Damaged by Rheumatic Fever
- Mitral Valve Prolapse with a Murmur
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Contact Dr. Jose-Luis Ruiz and Associates for Periodontal Care to Protect Your Heart
With attention to a disciplined at-home dental hygiene regiment and regular visits to the dentist for deep cleanings, healthy gums free of disease can keep your entire body in optimal condition. To learn more about the prevention of gum disease and the maintenance of gum health, contact the dental office of Dr. Ruiz and Associates. Located in Burbank, Dr. Jose-Luis Ruiz provides outstanding periodontal care.