Studies have shown that periodontal disease — the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue — is associated with cardiovascular disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Read on to learn more about heart disease and why it’s important to keep your dentist up-todate on your heart health.
What is heart disease, and what are the risk factors?
Heart disease affects the heart and/or blood vessels. Forms of heart disease include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris), stroke and heart failure. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The risk factors associated with heart disease include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and stress.
How are periodontal disease and heart disease connected?
Studies have shown that there is a link between heart disease and periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue. Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums. This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste and visiting a dentist at least every six months. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.
What do my physician and dentist need to know?
It is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health. Tell your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of gum disease or are experiencing gum inflammation. Also, tell your dentist if you have been diagnosed with any form of heart disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems or have a family history of heart disease.
What is endocarditis, and how can it affect my dental care?
Endocarditis is a rare, life-threatening inflammation of the lining of the heart muscle and its valves that is caused by a bacterial infection. Although it can occur in anyone, it is more likely to occur in people who have certain heart conditions and in those who have had endocarditis previously. If you are at high risk for endocarditis, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics before dental procedures. Talk with your dentist for more information.