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Bad Oral Health Affects Heart Health

We are always talking about the importance of good oral health to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But did you know that gum disease may cause heart disease? Many times patients avoid the dentist because their teeth feel fine. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of Americans are living with some form of periodontal disease. What’s more, many of these folks don’t even know, because they go undiagnosed. So, while you may diligently visit the doctor, if you skip the dentist, you could end up with more than a toothache. You may miss out on an opportunity to ensure your heart stays strong. Here are the startling facts about how bad oral health affects heart health.

What are the links?

Researchers report that people with periodontal disease may be twice as likely to have heart disease. Furthermore, the risk increases when you add in high cholesterol. So how is your mouth related to your heart? According to Delta Dental, the largest dental insurance provider in the United States, there is evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, if you have gum disease in either a moderate or advanced stage, you are at a more significant risk than someone with healthy gums. Second, your oral health can offer doctors warning signs of a range of disease and conditions, including ones of the heart.

How are they connected?

Bacteria and other germs in your mouth are present in larger numbers when you have poor oral health. These bacteria spread from your mouth to other parts of your body through your bloodstream. When the bacteria reach your heart, they can attach to damaged areas and cause increased inflammation. According to the American Heart Association, this can result in illness such as:

  • endocarditis
  • atherosclerosis
  • stroke
  • heart disease

Who is most at risk?

Those patients who have chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or periodontal disease have the greatest risk for heart conditions caused by poor oral health. Additionally, these chances increase the longer the situation remains undetected. Even if you do not have noticeable gum inflammation deficient oral hygiene plus excessive plaque puts you at risk.

What are the symptoms and warning signs of gum disease?

According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), the symptoms of gum disease are:

  • swollen red gums that are sore to the touch
  • gums that bleed when you eat, brush, or floss
  • pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth
  • excessively receding gumline
  • loose, or shifting teeth

Can I prevent these issues?

Yes, you can prevent gum disease and its associated issues. Regular dental visits, dental exams plus good oral hygiene habits are key in protecting yourself. The American Dental Association makes the following recommendations:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Use an ADA approved toothpaste.
  • Floss every day.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for cleaning and examination.

Take Control of Your Health

Be proactive about your oral health. It is proven that bad oral health affects heart health. Your efforts can help protect you from developing issues. You have the power to fight the connection. Denise Dental Studio is passionate about helping our patients get and stay as healthy as possible. Contact us today to schedule a dental exam and take control of your health!