Periodontal disease is linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. The beginning of gum disease is marked by bleeding gums, which occur during brushing or flossing. If gum disease is left untreated for a long time, the disease-causing bacteria may enter the blood circulation and cause various health problems. There exists a strong link between gum disease and heart health.
Gum inflammation and coronary artery disease
Various theories suggest that gum inflammation may be linked to the production of arterial plaque. This plaque is a result of deposits such as fats, cholesterol, and calcium in the arterial walls. The plaque thickens and hardens the arterial walls that supply the heart, thereby decreasing the blood pumping capacity of the heart, and reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients for the proper functioning of the heart.
Gum infection and stroke
Bacteria in the mouth of patients with gum disease may enter the blood circulation during certain dental treatment procedures, causing a serious condition called bacterial endocarditis (inflammation of heart muscles). These bacteria can form infected blood clots, which can then travel to organs such as the brain, lungs or kidney, and may result in stroke, blood clots in various organs, damaged heart valves or irregular heartbeats.
Individuals with existing or previous heart disease should inform the dentist about their condition before undergoing any dental procedures. In such cases, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics before a dental procedure to prevent bacteria from traveling to the heart.
You can prevent gum infections by brushing and flossing daily and having regular dental examinations and professional cleaning done.