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The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health: What You Need to Know

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Not only does it cause problems for your teeth and gums, but it can also have serious implications for your heart health.

It may seem surprising that the health of your gums could impact the health of your heart, but numerous studies have shown a clear link between the two. Here’s what you need to know.

How Gum Disease Relates to Heart Health

When you have gum disease, your gums become inflamed due to bacteria that build up on your teeth and gumline. This inflammation can spread throughout your body if left unchecked, leading to harmful effects such as blood clotting and the formation of arterial plaque.

Research has shown that people with periodontal disease are significantly more likely to experience heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. In fact, one study found that people with gum disease were nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without.

The exact mechanisms that link gum disease and heart health are not yet fully understood, but some possible explanations include:

– Inflammation: When your gums are inflamed, it triggers an immune response that causes inflammation throughout your body. Over time, this chronic inflammation can lead to cell damage and increases the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
– Bacteria: Certain types of bacteria found in the mouth have been linked to heart disease. These bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and contribute to the formation of arterial plaque.
– Risk factors: People who have gum disease are more likely to have other risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

Preventing Gum Disease

The good news is that gum disease is preventable and treatable. Here are some tips for maintaining good oral health and reducing your risk of periodontal disease:

– Brush and floss regularly: Brush twice a day for two minutes each time, using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque from between your teeth and along your gumline.
– Visit your dentist regularly: Get regular dental checkups and cleanings to stay on top of any oral health issues.
– Don’t smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease and heart disease alike.
– Eat a healthy diet: A diet that’s low in sugar and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
– Manage stress: Stress can weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off infection.

If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend treatments such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), antibiotics, or surgery. By taking care of your oral health, you can help protect your heart and overall health in the long run.


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