The human body is a complex machine, and we’re learning more about how interconnected it is all the time. For instance, your gum health can greatly affect your overall well-being — especially your heart. Did you know that periodontitis, or gum disease, is closely linked to a number of heart conditions? Heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure are a few. Keep reading to learn more about the systemic link between your gum and heart health.
Gum Disease Linked to Cardiovascular Problems
While scientists haven’t discovered the reason for the link, there’s no doubting the fact that gum health affects the heart. In fact, people with gum disease are far more likely to have cardiovascular disease, too. Gum disease and heart disease both cause inflammation. That means in the heart, the arteries become hardened and blood flow is more difficult. The gums become swollen, red and tender.
One common explanation for the link between the gums and heart is that the gums provide easy access to the blood stream — and when they’re infected, bacteria dislodge and easily reach the heart. Whatever the cause, we know you can protect your heart health by maintaining excellent oral hygiene habits.
How to stay healthy? Prevent gum disease
We hope your takeaway from this is simple: take care of your gum health to maintain a healthy heart. We’ve got some tips to help you do just that!
The risk for gum disease increases with age, and it’s estimated that 75 percent of adults over the age of 35 have the condition to some degree. That’s a significant amount, especially when you consider it’s easy to prevent gum disease with twice daily brushing, daily flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
Common risk factors related to periodontal disease include:
- Tobacco use of any kind
- Imbalanced diet
- Medications causing dry mouth
- Certain diseases, like diabetes and HIV
- Pregnancy can result in a temporary form of the condition known as pregnancy gingivitis
If one or more of these factors puts you at a higher risk of gum disease, make sure you’re visiting the dentist at least twice annually to help prevent the condition from developing — or to seek gum disease treatment if it already exists. Remember that your heart health is at stake!
Schedule your dental appointment today
If it’s been awhile since your last checkup and cleaning, or if you suspect you need treatment for gum disease, please don’t wait to contact Aesthetic Dentistry of South Miami! We’re here for the continued health of you and your whole family.