Gum Disease and the Heart

“Does a healthy mouth equal a healthy heart?”1 Though research has yet to determine if there is an exact correlation, many things point to the answer being yes! There are billions of bacteria living in your mouth, both good and bad. The bad bacteria are what cause gum tissue to get inflamed and bleed easily. As the tissue is inflamed it causes the blood vessels to open, which in turn lets the bacteria get into the blood stream. These bacterium can then spread throughout the entire body. As you read on you will learn how to spot gum disease, what areas of the body are affected, and what you can do to prevent it.

 

Gum disease is often painless, which makes it hard to look in the mirror and know if you are affected. The most important thing to do is to see your dentist regularly. At your regular dental visit, the hygienist can check the tissue health and scale off any plaque, tarter, or biofilm (film of bacteria that adheres to a surface). Bacteria can reform within 12 week., Depending on the health of the mouth some people may need to be seen every 3-4 months, rather than every 6 months. Things you can look for between every dental visit are

·       Swollen or red gums

·       Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing

·       Pus between the teeth and gums

·       Bad breath

·       Buildup of hard brown deposits along the gum line

·       Loose teeth or teeth that are moving apart

·       Receding gum tissue or teeth that appear longer

 

There are many different regions of the body that can be affected by the health of the mouth leading to an increase in risk for stroke, heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, and premature births. The image below gives a detailed description for each of the 5 main risks.

 

(https://theheartfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/17-5-26-gum-disease-2-e1534975878902.jpg)

(https://theheartfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/17-5-26-gum-disease-2-e1534975878902.jpg)

There are many ways to reduce your risk for gum disease, and in turn reduce your risk for any of the previously stated risk factors

  1. Quit Smoking

  2. Manage Diabetes

  3. Have regular dental visits

  4. Brush your teeth twice daily

  5. Floss your teeth regularly

  6. Eat a balanced diet

  7. Control your blood pressure

  8. Get more excerise

Gum disease can be a sign that the body is unhealthy, by making sure to take care of your mouth you are in turn taking care of your heart. “Be aware of signs of gum disease, have regular dental visits, brush, and floss daily and your smile and your heart will thank you!” 1

 

 Cited Sources

1. Gum Disease and the Heart. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://theheartfoundation.org/2017/05/26/gum-disease-and-the-heart/

2. Harvard Health Publishing. (2007, February). Heart disease and oral health: Role of oral bacteria in heart plaque. Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health

3. Salinas, T. J., DDS. (2019, January 25). Your teeth and your heart: What's the connection? Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986

Jade Miller