The Heart and Mouth Connection

You have probably heard before that conditions of the mouth are directly linked to conditions of the heart. But have you ever thought to ask why? Studies show that people with moderate to advanced gum disease are more likely to get heart disease. There are a few explanations for this, including the following:

Risk Factors:
Overall, people who have chronic gum disease are also at an increased risk for a heart attack. The risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease, including tobacco use, poor nutrition and diabetes.
Plaque Buildup:
Whether you are diagnosed with early gingivitis or progressed periodontal disease, your condition includes a presence of plaque buildup along your gum line. Some researchers believe that gum disease leads to heart disease because the bacteria from the infected gums could dislodge, enter your bloodstream and eventually attach to blood vessels and form a clot.
Inflammation:
Gum disease almost always includes the presence of inflammation. This inflammation could also trigger clot formation, which decreases blood flow to the heart and increases the risk for a heart attack.

Not only does gum disease contribute to heart disease or heart problems, but the connection is a two-way street. People who have heart disease often produce symptoms or warning signs in the mouth as well. Perhaps the most important step you can take to detect both gum disease and heart disease is to visit your dentist. Your dentist can diagnose warning signs such as swollen, tender and bleeding gums as well as loose teeth and bad breath. Keep your heart healthy by maintaining a healthy mouth!

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