What’s the Link Between Gum Health and Heart Health?
As we all know our mind, body and mouth are all connected. As the modern medicine and advanced research advances, we are constantly uncovering new connections between different aspects of our health. One such intriguing link that has emerged in recent years is the connection between gum health and heart health. While it may seem surprising that the condition of your gums could impact the health of your heart, scientific studies have revealed a compelling connection that we should all be aware of. Our dentists at Heritage Dental Group always recommend 6 monthly dental check-up and cleans if you have underlying medical conditions.
Understanding Gum Health
The Role of Proper Oral Hygiene
Before finding a link between these two, we must first understand what gum health is? Gum health is closely tied to oral hygiene. When we neglect proper dental care, bacteria in our mouths can thrive, leading to gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, starts as gingivitis, causing inflammation, bleeding, and gum sensitivity.
The Progression to Periodontitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into a more severe condition known as periodontitis. This stage involves the deterioration of the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bone. Symptoms of periodontitis include persistent bad breath, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.
The Gum-Heart Connection
Now, let’s explore the connection between gum health and heart health. The primary link is inflammation. In both gum disease and heart disease, inflammation plays a pivotal role. When you have gum disease, your body’s natural response is to send inflammatory signals to combat the infection. However, chronic gum disease means chronic inflammation, which can affect other parts of your body.
The Spread of Bacteria
We also need to consider the spread of bacteria with gum disease. In advanced gum disease, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through gum tissue. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria can travel to other parts of the body, including the heart. This can potentially lead to infections in the heart or contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Numerous scientific studies have supported the gum-heart connection. One study published study found that people with gum disease have a higher risk of developing heart disease than those with healthy gums. The study suggests that the inflammation caused by gum disease may promote the buildup of arterial plaque, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Other Risk Factors
It’s important to note that gum disease is not the sole factor contributing to heart disease. It often interacts with other risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. However, maintaining good gum health can be a crucial step in reducing your overall risk.
Protecting Your Gum and Heart Health
Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
Now that we understand the link, let’s explore how to protect both your gum and heart health. The first and most crucial step is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Additionally, making lifestyle changes can be immensely beneficial. Quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress can all contribute to better overall health, including your heart.
Is gum disease common?
Gum disease is quite common, with millions of people affected worldwide. It’s essential to address it promptly to prevent complications.
Can brushing and flossing really make a difference?
Yes, maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine can significantly reduce your risk of gum disease and its potential impact on your heart.
Are there any warning signs of gum disease?
Some warning signs include bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, and gum sensitivity. If you notice these symptoms, consult your dentist.
Is gum disease preventable?
While not entirely preventable, gum disease can be managed and minimized through proper oral care and regular dental check-ups.
What else can I do to protect my heart health?
Along with good gum health, focus on a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to maintain a healthy heart.
Due for a dental check-up? Get in touch with our team on 38783384 to book your appointment with Dr Singh.