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How can gum disease be linked to heart disease?

February 5, 2020.TruAssure.0 Likes.0 Comments

How can gum disease be linked to heart disease?

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February is American Heart Month and because heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, we hear a lot about it. But did you know that evidence shows there is a relationship between gum disease and heart disease?

Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection and inflammation of the gum tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. In its early stage, it’s called gingivitis and can cause inflamed, red gums that bleed. Without proper daily oral care, gingivitis may worsen and become periodontitis. Periodontitis is a form of gum disease that causes the gum tissue to pull away from the tooth allowing for further tooth decay, loss of bone, and eventually tooth loss.

Oral bacteria may be the link to heart disease

The main cause of gum disease is harmful oral bacteria found in tooth plaque and tartar. Oral bacteria can travel through the gum tissues into the bloodstream, all over the body, and into the heart valves and heart. The bacteria can trigger inflammation throughout the body which may cause a narrowing of important arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke.1 It may also cause an infection in the bloodstream that could result in a heart attack.

Reduce your risk

Prevention of gum disease is possible with regular dental checkups and proper oral hygiene by brushing twice and flossing daily. Fluoride toothpaste can help reduce and prevent tooth decay, and an antimicrobial mouth rinse may help to reduce bacteria and plaque. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you experience any of the following gum disease symptoms:

  • Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pain while chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Loose teeth

If you have gum disease, it’s important you:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking is strongly associated with gum disease, it weakens the immune system which makes it harder to fight any infections.
  • Floss at least once daily: Flossing helps remove plaque beyond your toothbrush’s reach.
  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria. Brushing helps remove food and plaque from your teeth and gums.
  • Use a mouthwash: Mouthwash can help reduce plaque, prevent gingivitis, and reduce the speed at which tartar develops.
  • Get regular dental cleanings: A professional cleaning is the only way to remove tarter and allows your dentist to detect other symptoms before they become more serious.

Contribute to your heart health by maintaining good oral health habits and protecting your healthy smile, too.

1 https://www.bumrungrad.com/en/health-blog/september-2023/the-link-between-oral-hygiene-and-heart-health 

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