Gum Disease and Heart Disease: What is the Connection?

When considering oral health, most people likely think of preventing cavities and maintaining a sparkling smile. While these are certainly components of good oral health, there is a much larger reason to make the health of your mouth a priority: your heart. Medical experts have long speculated about the link between oral health and heart health. While the subject is still widely debated, most cardiologists, periodontists, and dental health professionals agree that the connection is undeniable.

The relationship between your oral health and your heart health

Many experts believe that the link between periodontal disease — otherwise known as gum disease — and heart disease is inflammation. Inflammation plays a major role in both of these diseases. Heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries. Gum disease also results from a build-up of plaque; in its earliest stages, periodontal disease causes the gums to become inflamed. Inflammation isn’t the only link between heart health and oral health, however.

Other findings include:

Coronary artery disease is the most prevalent type of heart disease. Studies show that people who suffer from gum disease are more likely to develop coronary artery disease.
Additional studies show that patients who suffer from tooth loss related to periodontal disease are more likely to suffer a stroke than patients with healthy gums.
Patients who suffer from gum disease are more likely to develop clogged arteries in the legs.

Preventing gum disease

Maintain a healthy smile and protect the health of your heart by making your oral hygiene a priority. To help prevent gum disease, consider the following tips:

Brush twice a day and floss daily. Make no mistake: a surefire way to prevent gum disease is by brushing your teeth twice a day. Don’t skimp on the flossing either; floss can get to those hard-to-reach spots that your toothbrush misses.
Visit your dentist regularly. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth at home, twice-yearly dental check-ups and professional cleanings are still essential to maintaining your oral health.

For more information regarding the connection between gum disease and your overall health, please contact us today!

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