The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease


Healthy Teeth and Gums O'Fallon, IL Did you know that by taking care of your mouth, you are also protecting your heart? While the details and evidence are still being pursued, the research showing the correlation between gum disease and heart disease is quite strong. To understand this, it’s important to learn the shared effects that periodontitis (gum disease) and heart disease have on the body.

Inflammation: Gum disease begins with an inflammatory process within the gum tissues. When determining a patient’s risk for heart attack, a physician can look at the level of CRP (or C-reactive proteins) in the blood. High amounts of these inflammatory proteins are present in those with gum disease as well as those with heart disease.

Bacteria: Gum disease is a progressive infection that is triggered by excess bacteria in the mouth. Some of these bacterias can enter your bloodstream and harden the arteries that contribute to heart disease.

Common Risk Factors

While the issues of inflammation and bacteria can certainly connect periodontitis and heart disease, they also have some of the same risk factors. In other words, many of the same habits that predispose a person to gum disease will also put them at greater risk for heart disease. These include the following shared risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Old age
  • Inflamed arteries

The bottom line is this: if you aren’t working hard to keep your gums healthy, you may end up with serious consequences within your cardiovascular health. Red, puffy and bleeding gums are the first warning signs of gum disease. At this early stage, a visit to your dentist for a professional or deep cleaning can typically reverse it before it advances into periodontitis. Remember that severe gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, so there is a lot at stake when it comes to caring for your gums.

Give your heart some love and call Soft Touch Dentistry to schedule your regular cleaning or periodontal therapy today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050