Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is common among adults, with nearly half of American adults experiencing an advanced form called periodontitis and over half of all adults experiencing some form during their lifetimes. However, though it is common, it is not harmless, and can even lead to an increased risk for other health issues. In today’s blog, your Mansfield, TX, dentists will share information about periodontal disease and its relationship to your risk of stroke.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease refers to an infection of your gums that is caused by the plaque that sticks to your teeth. Everyone has plaque, so everyone’s gums could potentially become infected. The earliest stage of infection is called gingivitis, which is still reversible through care from your dentist, which can include periodontal cleanings. However, if allowed to progress, periodontal disease can pose a huge threat not only to your oral health, but to your overall heath.

What Are the Warning Signs?

Though it is usually painless, the warning signs of gum infection include:

  • Swelling of the gums, or redness
  • Gum sensitivity
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums receding and pulling away from your teeth
  • Bleeding from your gums
  • Teeth becoming loose or shifting around

How Is It Related to Stroke?

A recent study has discovered that gum inflammation and bleeding causes a change in how blood and oxygen flow to your brain. This change can double your risk of having a stroke, which makes gum disease something that you must be on the lookout for. There are also ongoing studies to find out if there are, as hypothesized, links between periodontal disease and diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and we already know that it is one of the most common causes of tooth loss among adults. For these reasons, it is imperative that you seek the attention of your dentist if you experience any signs of gum infection.

Preventing It

Happily, since plaque is the cause of gum disease, it is not very difficult to prevent. Taking care to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, which should include brushing your teeth thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste morning and evening as well as flossing well at least once a day, will significantly lower the amount of plaque present on your teeth. Paired with your routine at home, of course, you should regularly attend your exams and cleanings at Mansfield Dental Associates. The American Dental Association suggests attending these visits at least twice a year, as they will not only rid your teeth of plaque, but will allow your dentist to examine your smile for any potential signs of gum infection, making it highly necessary for proper prevention.

Schedule Your Cleaning Today!

When you experience anything abnormal about your gums or smile, especially any potential signs of gum disease, you should call your dentist right away. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call Mansfield Dental Associates in Mansfield, TX, at 817-473-6227.