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    Is Your Oral Health Connected to Your Heart Health?

    by Saunders DDS on July 12, 2016

    When we take care of our teeth and gums, we’re not only benefitting our mouths, but we could be benefitting our hearts too! Although the research isn’t quite conclusive, evidence that links oral health and heart disease could encourage patients to seek treatment for conditions such as gum disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Could proper oral health influence a healthy heart?

    Gum Disease and Heart Disease Share Risk Factors

    People that don’t take the necessary proper care of their teeth may be more likely to have heart attacks or stroke. Although more research is needed, experts speculate that gum disease could actually be a risk factor for heart disease. This is because gum disease and heart disease share certain risk factors, such as:

    • Age
    • Smoking
    • Poor diet
    • Obesity

    Cardiovascular disease is also a risk factor for gum disease due to the inflammation of the arteries (also called atherosclerosis). Some studies point to the fact that chronic inflammation, such as that of the arteries or inflammation of the gums, may be the link between heart disease and gum disease.

    Inflammation Could Be the Link

    When you have gum disease, bacteria build up around your gum line, due to unremoved plaque, and irritate your gums. This can cause such symptoms as red and swollen gums, bleeding gums, or bad breath. Your body responds to this infection with its immune system, which can cause inflammation of the gums, one of the symptoms of gum disease.

    This inflammation of the gums could point to arterial inflammation, meaning your arteries are swollen and this leads to hardened arteries that restrict blood flow to your heart. This can happen due to built-up plaque in your arteries leading towards your heart. The bacteria present in gum disease have been found in the hardened plaque in patients with atherosclerosis and could increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

    Treatment for Gum Disease May Promote a Healthier Heart

    If you have gum disease, treatment for this condition could lead to a healthier heart. Removing the bacteria and plaque that can cause the inflammation and infection of gum disease will help your body to heal. Your mouth will also contain less bad bacteria and if you keep up with your oral hygiene and treatment for your gum disease (depending on how severe your gum disease is), you could have a healthier heart.

    The research here shows that patients who had their gum disease treated ultimately spent less on their medical care for heart disease and other conditions. Because the bacteria from your gum disease could eventually end up affecting your heart, removal of this bacteria could improve your heart health. Your dentist in Asheville can effectively treat your gum disease!

    Although there’s no conclusive evidence for how your oral health is linked to your heart health, research that has been conducted shows a potential link between the bacteria involved in gum disease as well as the inflammation of the gums and the arteries that lead to your heart. Are you experiencing the symptoms of gum disease? If so, schedule a visit to treat your gum disease, have a healthier smile, and maybe even a healthier heart!

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