The heart and mouth connection- Did you know that heart disease and oral health are linked? There are two different connections between heart disease and your oral health:
- People with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.
- Oral health holds clues to overall health. oral health can provide warning signs for other diseases or conditions, including heart disease.
Many of the risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease, such as tobacco use, poor nutrition and diabetes. Overall, people who have chronic gum disease are at higher risk for a heart attack
Gum disease (called gingivitis in its early stages and periodontal disease in the late stages) is caused by plaque build up along and below the gum line. Gum disease may contribute to heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation. It has also been suggested that inflammation caused by gum disease may also trigger clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack.
Research shows that many systemic diseases – including heart disease – have oral symptoms. Dentists can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation. proper diagnosis and treatment of tooth and gum infections in some of these patients have led to a decrease in blood pressure medications and improved overall health. If you currently have heart disease,make sure to tell your dentist about your condition as well as any medications you are currently taking.
Warning signs that you may have gum disease include:
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
- Gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth
- Chronic bad breath or abad taste in your mouth
- Teeth that are loose or separating from each other