Matthew Vogel, DMD
Heart disease is prevalent and scary. It’s responsible for around 600,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it may not be as severe, gum disease affects around 80 percent of adults. But did you know that some studies claim that a link exists between heart disease and gum disease? According to them, maintaining healthy teeth and gums could lead to other health benefits, including lowering the risk for heart disease.
What the studies say
People with periodontal disease, a form of gum disease, are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. One explanation for this link is that the bacteria from infected gums can attach to blood vessels and increase the formation of clots, which decreases the blood flow to the heart and raises the risk of a heart attack. Another idea is that the inflammation that happens from gum disease could affect the inflammation in other areas as well.
Saying that these theories are fact or that one disease causes the other, however, is a difficult task. Heart disease and gum disease share many of the same risk factors, such as cigarette smoking and poor nutrition, which makes it hard to establish the relationship between the diseases alone. While researchers are not sure about the direct link between the diseases, we believe that healthy oral hygiene habits can lead to a better, healthier life.
Symptoms of gum disease
Many symptoms may mean that you have or are at risk for gum disease. Some of these include bleeding or swollen gums, consistent bad breath, and experiencing pain when you chew food. If you think that you may have gum disease symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist who has expertise in recognizing these signs.
How to maintain healthy gums
The key to maintaining healthy gums is to have a solid oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and don’t forget to floss once a day. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist twice a year! Dentists are trained to look out for gum disease and can help you maintain healthy gums. Using antibacterial mouthwash and chewing sugarless gum are also techniques to upkeep your healthy oral hygiene.
Schedule an appointment today with Gresham Smile Designs to keep up your healthy teeth. Gresham dentist Dr. Daniel Ries and his staff provide state-of-the-art dental care for patients of all ages in a fun and relaxed environment.