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Gum Disease and Heart Disease Relationship

gingivitis, heart health and bacteria in your mouth and bloodstream

Every adult is well aware of the needs for good dental hygiene and toothcare, and it makes sense as to why. Aesthetically, they’re often one of the first things others notice, and practically, well – there’s nothing more frustrating than chronic tooth aches and issues.

People often need a complete oral care solution in order to maintain the health of their teeth. What most people ignore or fail to realize is that gums play an important role in the health of one’s body and not just oral hygiene. The health of gums is linked to the overall health of the body. Research suggests that having unhealthy gums can be linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.

Periodontal Disease or Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the gums and destroys the bone that supports one’s teeth. While one of the biggest and most visible effects of Periodontitis is tooth loss, there are various other, often unseen effects. According to a recent study, gum disease increases a person’s risk of heart disease by 20 percent.

What Is the Cause?

It is said that the bacteria that cause gum diseases can enter one’s bloodstream and cause other diseases like heart attack and respiratory diseases like pneumonia. Good gum health can be achieved by adequate cleaning of gums and teeth surfaces. This prevents the formation of plaque.
When plaque deposits itself on the surface of teeth, over a period of time, it finds its way in gums and releases toxins. This condition is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can further lead to periodontitis, which is responsible for gum infection and loss of teeth and jawbone. The bacteria pockets release toxins in the bloodstream which results in tooth loss and a myriad of other health problems.


Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Inflammation is the base of most heart diseases. Inflammation causes choking of arteries, leading to diseases like a heart attack or stroke. The same also happens when bacteria enter the bloodstream. This is where gum disease, specifically, periodontitis comes in. Periodontitis creates germ-filled pus in the gums which release toxins and bacteria in the bloodstream.

According to a study from 2014 done with people who had both gum diseases and heart diseases, people who received adequate oral and gum health had lower cardiovascular costs ranging from 10% to 40%. This hints at a link between gum disease and heart disease. The link has been recognized by the American Heart Association. While it is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, it is definitely associative.

Gum disease could increase the risk of heart disease as the inflammation caused by the bacteria and toxins could result in the narrowing of arteries down the line.

Gum Disease and Other Diseases

Not just heart diseases, gum infection and periodontal disease have been linked to other diseases as well. These include cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and more.

There is some research that shows a connection between osteoporosis and tooth loss. It points to the connection between lower bone density leading to a weak jawbone that results in imminent tooth loss. While this may not directly pertain to gum disease, it establishes a link with oral care and oral health and its connection to other seemingly unrelated diseases or conditions.

Some research also suggests periodontal disease as an effect rather than a cause. It has pointed out the role of diabetes in developing gum disease. Diabetes causes an inability to fight any infection developing in the body and also slows down the detection, which has been shown to lead to gum diseases.

To prevent this, it is recommended to keep diabetes in control and take proper care of one’s oral hygiene.

Common Gum Disease Symptoms

There are some symptoms to look out for to analyze the severity of gum diseases. These symptoms are:

  • persistent bad breath
  • swollen, red gums
  • tender gums that bleed easily
  • pain with chewing
  • highly sensitive teeth
  • receding gums or sunken teeth
  • loose teeth or changes in bite

While these symptoms differ from person to person, it is recommended to visit a dentist to get a professional opinion and treatment.  These symptoms are key indicators of gum diseases.

According to a research study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of American adults age 30 and older and 70 percent of those 65 and older have some stage of gum disease. The alarming part is that most people don’t even realize it.

Some symptoms are either ignored or associated with old age or masked by other diseases like diabetes.

How to Prevent Gum Diseases?

It’s very important to lead a healthy lifestyle and practice a good oral hygiene regimen. Thorough cleaning of your teeth and removing any plaque or food particles are essential in maintaining one’s oral health and thus ensuring that any further risk of serious diseases is reduced.

Small changes to one’s lifestyle and dental remedies are a good way to ensure there is no plaque buildup and one’s gums are healthy over a long period of time.

Brushing your teeth doesn’t cut it anymore – advanced oral hygiene techniques like water flossingand gum massaging give better and more viable results when it comes to keeping good care of your teeth and gums.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice and treatment – gingivitis and periodontitis can be treated non-surgically and surgically. Timely intervention is key to stop the disease from doing further harm to one’s body.

The Outlook

Multiple types of research and studies point to an existing connection between gum disease and heart disease, among other diseases. This is mostly due to inflammation and bacteria finding its way into the bloodstream through the gums. Additional research is being done to reach a conclusive result.

However, one cannot deny the plausibility of the link between gum disease and overall health.

While professional treatment is required for advanced stages of gum disease, home remedies, and care is essential to prevent any development and origin of the diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

If one detects the symptoms of early-stage gum diseases early, it can be stopped from progressing further. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and dietary changes like reducing sugar intake and increasing protein, fiber on a daily basis can help with the prevention of gum diseases.

After assessing the onset of the disease, it is vital to either stop it from progressing or doing the best you can to get rid of it. It’s crucial to seek professional advice and treatment depending on the severity. All in all, timely assessment and proper oral hygiene can prevent a number of diseases with the potential to have severe consequences on one’s health and well-being.

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