At the doctor’s office, on television, even on your breakfast cereal box, you’ve heard and read about the many risks for heart attack. For men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Well known risk factors include age, genetics, smoking, high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, diabetes, and stress. Lesser known is periodontal disease, also called gum disease, and it afflicts up to 80% of Americans. Research shows a proven link between gum disease and heart disease.
What causes gum disease?
Most often, gum disease is caused by poor dental hygiene. However, heredity, medications, other diseases, hormone fluctuations, and tobacco use also contribute to gum disease.
What can you do to lower your risk for gum disease and heart disease?
Gum disease begins when some of the 600 types of oral bacteria irritate gum tissue and cause infection. Lowering the amount of bacteria by reducing plaque and tartar helps reduce the risk for gum disease. You can decrease oral bacteria by brushing, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwash daily. Also, attend six-month checkups and dental cleanings. Our hygienist will examine your gums, measure periodontal pocket depth, and remove plaque and tartar at your hygiene visit, also called a cleaning visit.
Be aware of the symptoms of gum disease: red, swollen, tender gums, bleeding while brushing teeth. Sometimes gum disease presents no symptoms. If you notice a problem with your gums, or if you’ve not had a checkup and cleaning in the past six months, call Dr. Fondriest today at Lake Forest Dental Arts.