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How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Heart’s Health

Mouth checkup

What if we told you that gum disease and heart disease could be linked to each other? Commonly referred to as an oral-systemic connection, research has proposed evidence that a link between oral health and overall health exists.

More specifically, a link to gum disease and heart disease has been established. Research performed by dentists and doctors working together suggests that the two conditions could be tied together, but that’s only part of the equation. Follow along as we show you the relationship between these two conditions and how to reduce your risk.

What The Research Suggests

An oral-systemic connection is a much larger spectrum of gum and overall health. However, for this segment, we’ll focus on the connection to heart health specifically.

Research has proposed that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. The idea is that inflammation in the gums, caused by gum disease, could eventually lead to the narrowing of vital arteries that carry blood to and from the heart.

If gum disease–such as gingivitis–is left to adapt to periodontal disease, these symptoms will only worsen over time and could lead to a stroke if left unchecked.

Periodontal disease could eventually lead to even more problems, some of which include:

  • Atherosclerosis, which is a condition where the hardening of vital arteries restricts blood-flow to the heart.
  • Infected gum pockets which allow bacteria to enter the heart. Certain bacteria, such as Streptococcus sanguis, have been shown to cause strokes when spread to the heart through gum disease.

How To Reduce Your Risk

Consulting our dentist should be the first step in the process. Our oral healthcare professional will examine your current oral health standing and will work with you to create a treatment plan.

Outside of oral treatment, dentists say you can start incorporating healthier lifestyle choices immediately. Habits such as poor diet, tobacco use, and a sedentary lifestyle can be revised right away.

Patients can also begin a daily brushing and flossing routine to reduce the risk of future oral healthcare problems.

Proper brushing and flossing include:

  • Starting at the bottom of the gum-line, brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in an up and down circular motion for a minimum of two minutes.
  • Floss your teeth up and down in a ‘C’ shape around each tooth at least once per day to reduce gum disease and cavities.

Learn More About The Connection

For more information about the link between gum disease and heart disease, talk to your dental professional at Swan Dental, located out of Tucson, Arizona.

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