Heart Disease and Stroke
Did you know that the plaque that develops on your teeth is the same plaque that causes heart attacks? The most common type of bacteria in dental plaque can escape into the bloodstream, travel through the arteries, and result in blood clots that can cause fatal heart attacks.
People with periodontal (gum) disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The following diseases have been linked to plaque:
- Bacterial endocarditis - a condition in which the lining of the heart and heart valves become enlarged
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
In addition, a study conducted by the Boston University School of Dental Medicine in 2006 stated that people who are missing some or all of their teeth due to periodontal disease are at an increased risk for having a stroke.
Because research shows a very strong link between healthy gums and a healthy heart, it's very important to take good care of your gums. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup.
Early signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding or puffy gums
- Bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Receding gums
You can prevent plaque buildup by brushing at least twice a day and flossing every day, along with visiting your dentist every six months.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, contact your dentist right away.