Gum Disease and Heart Health: Understanding the Connection

May 10, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drthomas @ 3:36 am
Man holding heart-shaped cutout over his chest

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. To protect themselves, many people watch what they eat and stick to a regular exercise routine. Certainly, those habits are excellent. But did you know that your oral health can also have a bearing on your heart? This blog post examines the connection between gum disease and heart health.

Gum Disease and Heart Health: What Does the Research Say?

A 2014 study looked at people who had been diagnosed with both heart disease and gum disease. The researchers discovered that individuals who received adequate care for their gum disease had cardiovascular care costs that were 10 – 40% lower than individuals who did not receive the same level of oral care.

Separate research, which involved a review of several different studies, concluded that gum disease can increase the risk of heart disease by around 20%. It has even been suggested in some professional circles that people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of suffering from a serious cardiovascular event.

Why Are They Connected?

Of course, the above information points to a strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease, but it does not prove that the gum disease actually causes heart problems. In some cases, shared risk factors, such as smoking and a poor diet, may be responsible for these two conditions occurring together.

However, the belief that gum disease is an independent risk factor for heart disease has solid evidence to back it up. In fact, bacteria from gum disease can get into the bloodstream and increase the body’s overall burden of inflammation. The inflammation, in turn, can lead to a dangerous narrowing of the arteries. Gum disease has also been linked to infections that could result in a heart attack.

What Should You Do?

Caring well for your gums can be a valuable addition to your heart-healthy routine. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • When you brush your teeth, do not forget to clean along your gumline.
  • Be sure to floss at least once a day.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups.
  • Seek professional care at the first sign of gum disease. For example, you might notice that your gums are swollen or that they bleed easily when you brush.
  • Maintain a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients that support oral health, such as calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

A healthy smile supports a healthy heart! Taking steps to protect your gums has the potential to help you live longer.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Preetha Thomas provides holistic oral healthcare for the Southlake community. She has a deep understanding of the link between dental wellness and overall health. If you are concerned about the state of your gums, she and our team would be pleased to evaluate the situation and recommend your next steps. Contact Enclave Dental at 817-912-1218.

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