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Gum Disease Can Affect Your Heart Health

February 10, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay Oza @ 9:20 pm

Digital image of human heartDid you know that cavities aren’t the only threat to your dental health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 50% of adults over the age of 30 have a form of gum disease. It is almost 100% preventable; however, it remains a leading cause of tooth loss. Not only can it be detrimental to your dental health, but researchers have found that it can also affect your overall wellness negatively. In fact, it can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. With heart disease a leading cause of death in America, here’s what you need to know to keep your gums healthy.

What Is Gum Disease?

Your toothbrush is your first line of defense against preventable dental issues, but it can’t reach everywhere in your mouth. Plaque and tartar can accumulate between your teeth and near your gum line. This can irritate and inflame the soft tissues, leading to an infection. Gum disease can cause many symptoms, including:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums bleed easily
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, which is easy to treat. However, if the infection progresses, it can destroy the supporting structures of your teeth, including your jawbone. Researchers have found that bacteria from the infection can enter your bloodstream through the pressure of chewing. As it circulates throughout your body, it can wreak havoc on your health. 

Gum Disease and Your Heart Health

Researchers have found that a person’s risk of heart disease increases by 20% if they have gum disease. Chronic inflammation can narrow your arteries. Plaque can also accumulate in the passages. Either issue can cause narrowing of your arteries, increasing your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 

The risks don’t end there. Gum disease is also linked to diabetes, memory loss, respiratory illness, and pregnancy complications. It may cause preterm delivery and low birth weights.

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Although gum disease is common, you can safeguard your smile and promote your heart health by following a few tips:

  • Brush Twice Daily: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste to brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice daily.
  • Floss Every Day: Use high-quality floss to clean between each tooth and around the gum line daily.
  • Don’t Smoke: Don’t use tobacco, which can increase your risk of infections and delayed healing. 
  • Visit Your Dentist: Schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months with your dentist.

If you develop red, swollen, or bleeding gums, they are early signs of gum disease. Don’t wait to contact your dentist for an appointment.

About Dr. William Starck

Dr. Starck earned his dental degree from the Marquette University School of Dentistry and has regularly continued his education in various specialties, including oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Contact his office at (817) 409-4177 to schedule an appointment.

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