A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Heart

happy healthy smileIf you pride yourself in your smile, then chances are that you brush and floss your teeth every day and attend your six-month dental checkups and cleanings. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your diligent dental care may also benefit your physical wellbeing by helping to keep your heart healthy and disease-free. Numerous studies have linked the presence of gum disease and the bacterial infections that cause it to the development of certain cardiovascular disease. As a dentist in Lafayette, LA, Dr. Michael Young has extensive experience treating the various stages of gum disease, and explains how ignoring it can jeopardize more than your teeth and gums.

The Transmission of Bacteria

Last week, we tested your knowledge of mouth germs with a brief quiz that mentioned one of the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation and disease. This microbe, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, manipulates your immune system to prevent your body’s defenses from destroying it. As a result, uncontrolled inflammation can cause your gums to swell and bleed, offering a pathway for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As it travels, P. gingivalis can potentially incite the same reaction in other areas of your body, such as your heart valves, arteries, and tissues.

From Gum Disease to Heart Disease

While P. gingivalis is dangerous to your oral and overall health, other mouth germs may be harmless to your teeth and gums, but disastrous once they are introduced to your body. These germs mimic proteins found in your bloodstream, often causing unwarranted blood clots that can restrict and/or block the flow of oxygenated blood to your heart. In some studies, P. gingivalis has been found in excess quantities in the midst of inflammatory heart diseases, supporting the theory that gum disease can negatively influence your systemic wellbeing.

Treating Gum Disease in Lafayette, LA

If your dental hygiene leaves something to be desired, or if you notice that your gums appear angry, red, swollen, or bleeding, then don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Young as soon as possible. If you live in the 70508 area and would like to learn more about preventing and/or treating gum disease, schedule an appointment with Lafayette, LA, dentist, contact Dr. Young at (337) 237-6453. Located in the 70508 area, we proudly serve patients from Lafayette and all surrounding communities.