Can Your Mouth and Gum Disease Really Cause Heart Problems?

If you’re over 30, there’s a 50-50 chance you have gum disease. Gum disease is an extremely common condition that develops when plaque collects on your teeth, irritating gums and causing inflammation.

Gum disease is bad for your oral health because it can cause bone deterioration and loosen teeth. But a growing number of scientific studies show that gum disease isn’t only dangerous for your mouth.

There’s a link between gum disease and an increased risk of heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. But how are gum disease and heart conditions linked, and what can you do about it?

Find answers with Bao Nguyen, DDS, and Michael Florman, DDS, and our team at Morning Dental. We offer comprehensive periodontics care, including treatment for gum disease. Learn your risk for gum disease and more by making your first appointment today.

The link between gum disease and heart health

Gum disease or periodontal disease are terms used for gingivitis and periodontitis. There are many names for it, but they all have one thing in common: plaque buildup on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that collects on teeth and gums. 

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of the condition. Periodontitis can lead to bone deterioration, inflammation, infection, and tooth loss. 

Studies have shown that gum disease doesn’t just put your teeth at risk. In fact, having gum disease makes you two to three times more likely to suffer a serious cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke. 

It’s not clear if gum disease is an independent risk factor for heart problems, and more research is needed. Common risk factors for gum disease and heart disease, like smoking and dietary habits, may contribute to the link. 

Some researchers believe that gum disease, which causes increased inflammation, puts more stress on the heart over time. Inflammation in the body causes arteries to harden, which is a leading cause of many heart conditions. 

How to keep your mouth (and your heart) healthy

Periodontal disease is extremely common, but the good news is that treatments are effective in preventing and even reversing damage to your oral health. Our dentists offer a number of treatments for gingivitis and periodontitis, and we can help you get on the right track to improve your overall health and well-being.

Scaling and root planing are two common procedures to address gum disease. We use special instruments to clean your teeth below the gum line, removing plaque and bacteria buildup and giving your gums a smooth surface to adhere to. 

If you’re at increased risk for developing periodontitis, we can recommend an oral rinse like Peridex™. Regularly using a rinse that kills bacteria can help prevent the advancement of gum disease between your regular dental cleanings.

More changes you can make to improve both your oral health and your heart health include:

Addressing the signs of gum disease early on, as well as implementing heart-healthy habits can significantly reduce inflammation and take the strain off your heart.

In many ways, your oral health is an indication of your overall health. Fight gum disease and other complications by getting regular dental cleanings with Morning Dental. Call us or request an appointment online today.

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