Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is estimated that one out of every three American adults has hypertension, about 75 million people. With 92.1 million American adults living with some form of cardiovascular disease, Jay Lopez, D.D.S., in Tucson, Arizona, wants to help you understand that good oral health will decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease by decreasing the fatty deposits that clog arteries.

Medical researchers and authors Bradley F. Bale, Amy L. Doneen, and David J. Vigerust, recently published a review of scientific studies regarding the contribution of high-risk periodontal pathogens to artherosclerosis. This article is online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal. The authors concluded that certain pathogens (bacteria) associated with periodontal disease contribute to the buildup of arterial plaques made up of lipids, calcium and inflammatory cells. Furthermore, the authors say, “The dental community has a substantial opportunity to mitigate the number one cause of morbidity and mortality, namely cardiovascular disease.”

When gum infection is chronic and left untreated, the increased inflammation can cause cardiovascular complications. Although certain factors, such as smoking, genetics, and diabetes can increase your risk of gum disease, gum disease is most frequently caused by certain types of oral bacteria.

According to Tucson’s health-centered dentist, Dr. Jay Lopez, “With today’s diagnostics and treatment modalities, we can effectively manage the gum disease pathogens that contribute to cardiovascular disease.”

What Is Gum Disease?

Certain bacteria cause gum inflammation (gingivitis). Different bacteria cause gum and bone disease (periodontitis). There also are genetic predispositions that can make you more susceptible to periodontitis. Gum disease is a term commonly used to refer to both in general. If gum disease is caught in its earliest stages, the side effects are more easily treated. Without treatment, the bacterial infection will advance, and when severe, can result in teeth becoming loose and lost.

You may be noticing some of the more common oral health side effects. These include:

  • Gum swelling
  • Gum redness
  • Bleeding of the gums in some spots when you brush your teeth
  • Sore and tender gums

Perhaps, even:

  • Dental sensitivity
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Visible signs of infection (abscesses around teeth)
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth loss

Health-Centered Dentistry

Dr. Jay Lopez is unlike many dentists in that he genuinely focuses on the wellbeing of the whole patient. Many patients with health concerns and medical diagnoses trust in his oral care for all their dental needs because he is well trained and very knowledgeable about systemic health issues and the medical aspects of oral health care.

The key to preventing gum disease and protecting your overall health includes attending routine dental examinations at least every six months and maintaining good at-home oral hygiene habits. When you come for regular exams and prophylactic dental cleansings, we do a comprehensive examination of your teeth and periodontal tissues. We might notice signs of inflammation that you have not observed, and we may find measurable changes in the depth of gum pockets around the base of your teeth. If we do, we will council you appropriately.

When you come for a dental visit, we will also ask you about changes in your health, medications, and dietary supplements. If we take your blood pressure and it falls in the range of High Blood Pressure, our hygienist and Dr. Lopez will discuss what this could mean for both your systemic and oral health.

Dr. Jay Lopez, D.D.S. partners with OralDNA Labs to offer Oral DNA Saliva Testing. The offered lab tests are run on a sample of your saliva to determine which harmful bacteria are present and the amount of the bacteria. The presence of specific genetic biomarkers can be determined from your saliva, which will indicate whether you have a genetic predisposition for periodontitis. Based on the results of the saliva tests, Dr. Lopez can prescribe bacteria-specific antibiotics and a schedule of recall appointments for dental cleanings and other periodontal treatment if more advanced treatment is indicated.
Call to Learn More and Schedule an Appointment.

If you have symptoms of gum disease (or any oral pain or condition that concerns you), don’t be embarrassed to call and schedule an appointment. We are very kind and respectful of every individual. Even patients who have delayed dental visits out of fear of dentistry find they rapidly become comfortable and feel at home in our care. Dr. Lopez offers a range of sedation options for patients with dental anxiety.

Whether you are a permanent or seasonal resident of Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Jay Lopez invites you to give us a call today. We are known throughout Tucson for our highest quality of dental care, exceptional service, and personalized attention. If you have diagnosed hypertension and cardiovascular concerns, we are an ideal dental practice for helping you fight gum disease, monitor both your oral and blood pressure health, and communicate with (or even refer you to) an appropriate medical healthcare provider.

Learn more by reading our Cardiovascular Disease information sheet.