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Does Gum Disease Increase the Risk of Heart Disease?

February 16, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — newhavendental @ 10:31 pm
small red heart and stethoscope on blue background

It might seem counterintuitive to think that your gums could have any bearing on your heart. After all, the gums are just a framework for your teeth, right? Well… not quite. In fact, your gum health may have a big effect on your overall health. Some research even strongly indicates that gum disease could be a major contributor to heart disease. In the information that follows, you will learn more about the connection between these two conditions and discover a few tips that will help you protect yourself from both of them.

The Gum Disease – Heart Disease Link

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition wherein bacteria invade the gum tissue. The infection leads to a host of symptoms, including red gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and more. It also increases the body’s burden of inflammation. On a short-term basis, inflammation is a good thing because it is part of the body’s healing response to injury. However, when the inflammation becomes chronic (such as is the case with gum disease), it can be a major contributor to atherosclerosis (fatty deposits on the artery walls).

Although researchers cannot say for a certainty that gum disease-related inflammation causes heart disease, various studies have found a strong correlation between the two conditions. For example, a 2014 study found that individuals who received proper care for their gum disease had cardiovascular care costs that were 10 – 40 percent lower than people who did not receive adequate oral care. Separate research indicates that gum disease can increase the risk of a heart attack by as much as 20 percent.

What You Can Do

Given the strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease, it stands to reason that you should make every effort possible to protect your gums. You can do so by:

  • Staying alert for signs of gum disease. If your gums bleed when you brush, or your gums seem to be receding, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible for a checkup.
  • Visiting your dentist regularly. Even if you believe your gums are perfectly healthy, you should still visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and exam.
  • Maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Many cases of gum disease are directly linked to missteps in oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can do much to reduce your risk of gum disease.
  • Avoiding tobacco. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for both gum disease and heart problems.
  • Eating healthful foods. A balanced diet that is rich in vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber can have benefits for your entire body, including both your gums and heart.

Gum disease and heart disease are linked! Since February is American Heart Month, it is the ideal time to consider whether you are doing all you can to protect your heart via smart oral care.

Meet Our Practice

At New Haven Dental Group, we are proud to have an extensive team of general dentists and specialists ready to serve our patients. We offer both preventive care and gum disease treatment at each of our four convenient locations. To learn more about us and how we can help you to achieve better overall health through high-quality dental care, contact any of our offices.

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New Haven Dental Group is a 42 North Dental Care, PLLC practice and is owned and operated by dentists Dr. Samuel Shames, DDM. and Dr. Ronald Weissman, DDM. Gentle Dental is supported by 42 North Dental, LLC, a dental support organization that provides non-clinical administrative and business support services to the practice. 42 North Dental, LLC does not own or operate the dental practice or employ dentists to provide dental services. Find more information about 42 North Dental, LLC and the dental practices it supports at 42northdental.com.

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