Gum Disease & Heart Health – More Related Than You Think!
What Do Gums And Heart Have To Do With Each Other?
While it is strange to consider that your gums and heart are linked, research suggests that one could directly affect the other! Recent studies demonstrate that bacteria that cause gum disease can travel through the body and lead to inflammation of the heart.
But how at risk are Americans when it comes to heart disease and gum health? The CDC performed a study where they found nearly 50 percent of Americans 30 and older and 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have some form of gum disease.
Studies have shown that your gums act as a direct gateway to the bloodstream. When oxygen deficient blood cells return to the heart to be replenished, they carry with it bacteria that can be found in plaque, and can then get deposited around the heart and arteries.
Gums, Heart Health, & Cholesterol
Although not all patients with unhealthy gums have heart disease, and many patients with heart disease have healthy gums, there is a growing suspicion among researchers that plaque made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances can build up in the arteries and lead to coronary artery disease which affects 18.2 million Americans over the age of 20. When left untreated these fatty deposits can lead to major health complications including a heart attack or a stroke. Thankfully most of these issues are easily treatable as long as you practice a healthy oral health routine. With proper brushing, flossing, and dental visits, you can mitigate the potential risk of heart complications caused by oral health issues such as gingivitis.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, it is important to make an appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to identify the telltale signs of early gum disease which will allow for quick and easy treatment before problems become too serious, including the possibility of heart disease.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate gum disease include:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Receding gum line
- Red or swollen gums
- Consistently bad breath
- Teeth feeling or becoming loose
- Bleeding Gums
If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be a sign you are overdue for a general cleaning with your dentist. At your appointment you can discuss any of the symptoms you are experiencing and create a treatment plan.
How Gingivitis Treatment Helps Your Heart
According to Marietta Ambrose, MD, MPH, FACC, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, once gum disease is properly treated, it can lead to a decrease in your risk for heart disease and even return your risk back to normal. Seeking early treatment is important, otherwise it could potentially lead to more permanent damage including damage to soft tissue and even tooth loss.
Heart Disease Prevention
Even if gum disease only plays a small factor in contributing towards heart disease, it makes it more important to properly care for your oral health. This means being sure to:
- Floss at least once per day
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for general cleanings
Proper oral care should be built into a routine to make it a habit rather than a chore. There are several easy ways to build dental habits.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Better oral care is only the first step to managing heart health! In addition to practicing a better health routine, be sure to consider some of your daily habits to improve heart health including:
- Making healthy food choices
- Being active in your daily life
- Quitting smoking
- Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure
- Drinking alcohol in moderation only
- Managing Stress
Stay Heart Healthy with Dental365!
You can visit any of our Dental365 locations in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to talk about dental care and your heart health. Contact us at (844) 365-DENTAL for more information or to schedule an appointment.