Gums and the heart work side by side to keep your body healthy. With May being Stroke Awareness Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on what you can do to keep your gums in good shape. After all, your heart depends on it.
The Facts about Gum Disease
There are three levels of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis occurs when the gums are tender and red. With periodontitis, gums develop infected pockets, which can cause: tooth decay, receding gum lines, and bacteria that can spread into your bloodstream. This bacteria—including Streptococcus sanguis, which is known to play a part in developing strokes—can thicken your carotid arteries and spread to your heart.
Signs of a Stroke
According to the CDC, more than 795,000 people have a stroke each year. Sudden onset of the following may point to a stroke; however, it is always important to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional.
- Numbness in the leg, arm or face, particularly if it occurs on one side of the body.
- Confusion and trouble speaking and understanding.
- Trouble seeing, either in one eye or both eyes.
- Trouble walking, loss of coordination or balance, and dizziness.
- Severe, unexplained headache.
How to Protect Yourself from Gum Disease
In order to prevent gum disease, keep regular appointments with your dentist and periodontist. When periodontitis develops, it is important to get proper treatment in order to stop the spread of harmful bacteria. Your dental health professional may first want to perform a procedure called “scaling and root planing,” which removes infection in the pockets on the surface level. Lower level infection removal may also be required, if the infection has gone below the surface and into the bone that supports the tooth. This procedure can be done with a laser, eliminating the need for surgery.
Take Control of Your Oral Health
Brushing and flossing sometimes isn’t enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If your dentist has diagnosed you with gum disease in Minneapolis, MN, give our office a call to speak with Dr. Sanchez about our treatment options.