As we celebrate Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped candies, cards, and decorations, have you thought about the health of your own heart? And did you know that there is a connection between oral health and heart disease?
In April 2012, the American Heart Association published a statement supporting an association between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing. When gum disease becomes more advanced, it is called periodontitis. Periodontitis can to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and may become more severe over time resulting in tooth loss. It is estimated that 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States have periodontitis. [Read more…]