Your dentist takes care to look out for more than just your dental health. While the job of a dentist is to focus on oral health first and foremost, they will want to make sure that any issues they find and treat will not be affecting your overall health in any negative way.
There have been several major studies over recent years that have linked oral health to general overall health and have pointed to a strong link between heart disease and periodontal disease.
The connection between gum disease and heart disease
The key component of both gum disease and heart disease is inflammation. When you develop gum disease this means that your gum tissues become swollen, sore and at high risk of infection.
Heart disease is where inflammation of the heart tissues leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries through calcification and plaque build-up (atherosclerosis). This makes it difficult for blood to flow to your heart.
While gum disease and heart disease are both different, they both originate from the same problem. So your dentist spotting the development of gum disease in your mouth can often be the first medical professional to raise your awareness about the link and encourage you to get your heart health checked out by your GP.
Gum infection risks
When you develop gum disease what can happen is that gum pockets start to form that can trap bacteria that turn into pockets of infected germ-filled pus.
There is an underlying concern that your heart health can be directly affected by the bacteria and infection spreading below the gum line into the bloodstream. These toxins are then carried by your bloodstream directly to your heart.
This can cause your body to react by attacking the infection being carried by your blood. It does this through inflaming the tissues, but inflammation causes damage to blood vessels, which of course includes the blood vessels found in the heart.
Doctors have found that the same bacteria that cause gum disease (periodontal disease) is the same bacteria that spreads to the heart and causes pericarditis.
In fact, doctors treating heart disease patients have found a vast majority of them to have both heart and gum disease. However, they have also found a lot less of these bacteria in heart patients who didn’t have gum disease.
More research is currently being done to absolutely prove a direct link between gum disease and heart disease. But in the meantime, it may help people to be cautious and extra vigilant about managing their gum disease symptoms.
Finding a London Dentist
If you are looking for a high-quality, trusted dentist in London, then it would be wise to book with one with plenty knowledge, experience and friendly staff that are experts at treating and managing gum disease.