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Gum Disease and Heart Disease — How They are Connected

Making sure your oral hygiene is in check can help you prevent a number of health concerns, one of these being heart disease – Australia’s number one killer. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease, gums and heart disease, what is gum disease, proving that sticking to a good oral health routine can save your life. Here are the facts you need to know.

a dentist checking a patient's mouth for signs of gum disease

What is gum disease?

Gum disease begins when the bacteria-laden film around your teeth builds up. It is an infection of the gums which support your teeth and can cause issues such as tooth loss, bleeding, and bad breath as well as further health problems. However it is also very difficult to recognise by most people as it can often be painless and comes in mild to severe forms. Some symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Sensitive or lost teeth
  • Consistent bad breath

Explaining the link between gum disease and heart disease

There have been several studies into gum disease to determine what the effects are on the rest of the body. One of these findings has been that periodontal (gum) disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Researchers have discovered that the inflammation caused by gum disease correlates with heart disease and also can worsen any existing heart conditions. Some heart patients are even encouraged to take antibiotics prior to undergoing dental work. Other studies have also revealed a link between gum disease and strokes, where those with acute cerebrovascular ischemia (restricted blood vessels) were more likely to have an oral infection.

What can you do?

Always consult with your cardiologist before undergoing any medical or dental procedures if you have heart problems, and always tell your dentist about any pre-existing conditions as a precaution. It’s also vital to keep up your oral health in any case, as poor oral hygiene can lead to many other health complications. Ensure you brush well twice a day, floss daily, and attend regular check-ups. And if you are looking for a gentle and comfortable dental experience, contact us at Beacon Cove Dental today.