As your family dentist in Wilsonville, Dr. Denise Gates wants all of her patients to enjoy a lifetime of quality oral and overall health. While many of our patients at Gates Family Dentistry know that brushing daily offers a variety of benefits – such as fresher breath and a lowered risk of gum disease and tooth decay – you might not realize that enjoying quality oral hygiene could also translate to a healthier heart.
So how does your oral health impact the health of your heart?
Our bodies are connected in ways that make quality oral health important to your overall health. More specifically, researchers believe that inflammation that develops in the mouth due to oral bacteria that causes gum disease could increase our risk of heart disease.
Some studies have even identified a link between gum disease and heart disease. When it comes to lowering your risk of heart disease, while also protecting your long-term oral health, here are a few tips to keep in mind; plus, how to recognize the early signs of gum disease.
Brushing and flossing
Regular brushing and flossing at home, combined with scheduling dental exams and cleanings with your family dentist in Wilsonville, rank as the best habits you can have to help maintain and improve your oral health. Patients who have known risk factors for gum disease, such as a weakened immune system, family history and diets high in processed sugars, need to pay close attention to maintaining a regular oral hygiene regimen to ensure the best oral health possible.
Eating a balanced diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing the amount of processed sugars you consume is of the utmost importance. Harmful oral bacteria use the sugars we consume to produce substances that slowly erode tooth enamel. Over time, diets high in processed sugars – such as starchy breads, pastas and sweets – increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis – an early stage of gum disease – impacts the health of the soft tissues in the mouth that surround our teeth, and is easily reversible when caught early. Periodontitis – an advanced form of gum disease – not only impacts the health of our gum tissue, it also attacks the surrounding bone structure that holds our teeth in position. Periodontitis ranks as a leading cause of permanent tooth loss.
Healthy gums appear pink and firm. The early signs of gingivitis include tender, red and swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing. Occasionally, these signs of gum disease go overlooked by patients because they don’t cause any discomfort. However, when gum disease progresses into the more serious periodontal disease, the discomfort that it causes signals a more serious problem that might no longer be treatable. When you develop severe gum disease, you may begin to notice gums that have started pulling away from the base of your teeth and possibly become loose or shifted.
If you think you may suffer from the early or late signs of gum disease, you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Denise Gates, your family dentist in Wilsonville, OR.