Periodontal Disease and Heart Health: A Primer for Cardiovascular Patients
More than 28 million Americans have been diagnosed with heart disease. In fact, in the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, with about 25 percent of all yearly deaths being due to heart disease.
Heart disease is a chronic condition that becomes more likely with age. With appropriate care, both men and women can live full lives for many years after a diagnosis. However, they should be aware of possible complications – including certain dental issues.
One of the most important aspects of dental health is the health of your gums – the periodontal tissue. Throughout life, even as you go through two sets of teeth, your gums remain responsible for anchoring teeth and providing an adequate blood supply to them.
This is precisely where heart disease tends to complicate dental care.
Those with heart disease are more likely than others to need periodontal care. Heart disease tends to reduce blood circulation throughout the body, particularly in the extremities. This can make your gums more vulnerable to disease.
Common gum inflammation – called gingivitis – can progress quickly in those with heart disease and may develop into periodontitis, severe gum disease. Once gum disease appears, it can destroy tissue, requiring a graft. Without prompt treatment, the condition can even erode the jaw bone, leading to loose teeth.