February is American Heart Association Month, a nationally-recognized time of the year dedicated to learning about how the health of your heart is connected to other parts of your body. Over the last decade, several studies have been released that established a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease. Read on to learn how you can protect your overall wellbeing by defending your gums from the effects of harmful oral bacteria accumulation.
The Connection Between Heart Health & Gum Disease
A study conducted in 2014 established a strong link between gum health and cardiovascular problems associated with heart disease, such as strokes and heart attacks. They studied a group of participants who have both gum disease as well as heart disease. They found that the participants who received periodontal disease treatment had cardiovascular care costs that were between 10 and 40 percent cheaper than the participants who weren’t treating their oral health problem.
In another article, the authors reviewed several studies that have been conducted on heart and oral health. They found that people with gum disease are at a 20 percent higher risk of developing heart disease, but that more research is needed to determine a direct connection.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Many patients miss the early signs of gum disease because they suspect that they’re completely normal occurrences, such as bleeding gums while brushing or flossing. The problem with this is that this opens the door for the condition to become even worse. As toxins released by harmful oral bacteria infect your gums and cause signs of periodontitis, they can begin to get into your bloodstream and travel through other areas of your body, such as (you guessed it) your heart. This can cause vital parts of your cardiovascular system to become inflamed, causing signs of heart disease.
The best way to protect your gums, and in turn, protect your heart, is to spot the symptoms early. Here are some signs of gum disease:
- Swollen, red, tender, and inflamed gums.
- Receding gums that make your teeth look longer.
- Pockets of pus and bacteria between your teeth and gums.
- Loose teeth.
- Chronic bad breath.
- Permanent tooth loss.
Tips to Protect Your Heart & Gums
If you have gum disease, the best way to prevent it from getting worse or reverse the symptoms is to visit your dentist for gum disease therapy. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to have preventive measures in place to keep harmful oral bacteria from building up and causing gum disease. Here are some ways you can look after your overall wellbeing:
- Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
- Keep up with your dental hygiene routine.
- Maintain a nutritious diet.
- Remember to floss and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash every day.
If you’re worried about the health of your heart due to gum disease, schedule a checkup and cleaning with your dentist. They can let you know if you’re exhibiting any signs of this common oral health problem and act quickly to combat it and preserve your smile.
About the Practice
At Breckinridge Dental & Orthodontics, we offer the services of seven different dentists who are all highly trained and experienced. With all of their expertise combined, we’re able to provide each patient that steps through out doors with thorough preventive dental care that tackles small problems before they have a chance to advance. We also offer customized gum disease therapy to help restore our patients’ oral health. For questions or to schedule a consultation, visit our website or call 972-248-9119.