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Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Image of a tooth holding a heart.
Gum disease occurs when there is a bacterial infection in your mouth. The bacteria cause your gums to become irritated and inflamed. As the disease progresses, it grows worse. What starts as red, swollen gums can turn into loose teeth and tooth loss. This condition is often thought only to affect your mouth. The truth, however, is that bacteria in your mouth can get into your bloodstream and affect the health of your heart. If you have gum disease, Karl Zeren DDS can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health and protect your heart health.

What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

There are various symptoms that can point toward gum disease. The exact symptoms you experience depend upon how advanced the condition is. Common symptoms include:
•  Gums that are red and swollen.
•  Bleeding gums when you brush and floss your teeth.
•  Chronic bad breath.
•  Gum recession.
•  Tooth sensitivity.
•  Loose teeth.
•  Tooth loss.

How Gum Disease Affects Your Heart

Gum disease is often thought to be a condition that only affects the health of your mouth. While it does significantly impact your oral health, gum disease can also impact your whole-body health too, including the health of your heart. When it first begins, the bacteria in your mouth attack your gums, causing the tissue to become irritated and inflamed. Without treatment, the gums begin to pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and begin to attack the tissue from the inside. Over time, the pockets grow deeper, reaching your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone.

Bacteria can also get into your bloodstream. When this happens, the bacteria can travel throughout your whole body. They trigger an inflammatory response from your immune system. The blood vessels constrict, and your blood has a more difficult time flowing through your body. The arteries can become clogged; a condition called atherosclerosis. Bacteria inside of your heart can also cause an infection known as endocarditis.

Heart Disease and Dental Treatment

Not only can gum disease lead to heart disease, but having heart disease can also impact the types of dental treatments that you can receive. If you already have heart disease, it is important that you share this information with us. Before you can undergo certain dental treatments, you may need pretreatment with antibiotics. You may require antibiotics if you have an artificial heart valve, you have suffered endocarditis in the past, or you were born with certain heart conditions. These antibiotics are necessary to help you prevent infections and other complications, both during and after your dental procedures.

Protecting Your Oral Health and Your Heart Health

Good oral hygiene is essential not only for maintaining the health of your mouth, but also the health of your heart. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. You should also have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined twice a year. In addition to good oral hygiene practices, you can also help to protect the health of your heart by exercising, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and seeing your physician regularly.

Taking care of your mouth is important for more than just your oral health. It is also crucial for your whole-body health, including your heart health. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Karl Zeren DDS at (410) 316-6141 today.
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“Dr Zeren and his staff are professionals in every sense of the word. They really care about their patients. This Doctor is as good as they get. I always felt well cared for on every visit. If you are looking for the best in the area put your full trust in the expertise of Dr Zeren.”
Humphrey M.

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Office Location

9515 Deereco Rd. Suite 308
Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093

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Opening Hours

Mon, Tue, Thr: 8am–5:00 pm
Fri: Complex surgical cases

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