Gum Disease and Heart Health: Exploring the Medical Connection 

 Gum Disease and Heart Health: Exploring the Medical Connection 

When it comes to your health, it’s essential to take a holistic look at your body. In most cases, when something is wrong, there is likely a secondary or hidden cause. Different parts of your body can affect others in various ways, so it’s crucial to understand these connections and how they influence one another. 

A case in point is the medical connection between gum disease and heart health

While these two elements seem unrelated, they’re far more integral than you might think. So, let’s break down how they impact each other and what you can do to keep your gums (and your heart) healthy. 

A Primer on Gum and Heart Disease Oral Care

Gum and heart disease are both quite common in the United States. Around 47 percent of adults have gum disease, while around 48 percent have some form of heart disease. However, there’s only sometimes a link between the two. For example, many adults can have heart conditions and a healthy mouth, or vice versa. 

Heart disease is also far more nuanced, with multiple conditions affecting the severity of the condition. Genetics, lifestyle, and diet can all affect heart health, while poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gum disease. 

How Are Gum Disease and Heart Disease Connected?

Although research has shown a strong correlation between gum and heart disease, there have yet to be conclusive studies illustrating what creates this link. Some of the prevailing theories include: 

  • Bacteria – Gum disease is often caused by plaque buildup in the mouth, which attracts various bacteria. If left untreated, these bacteria can travel throughout the bloodstream, causing inflammation and other heart health issues like blood clots or tissue damage. Research backs up this claim because remnants of oral bacteria have been found in other blood vessels.
  • Inflammation – Inflammation is a necessary part of your body’s defense system. However, many people experience chronic inflammation, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease or heart attacks. Over time, inflammation within the circulatory system causes severe damage to the vessels and the heart. 
  • Contributing Factors – Some researchers speculate there is no direct link between gum disease and heart health. Instead, the correlation may be caused by other factors affecting both body areas. For example, smokers have a much higher risk of periodontal disease and heart attacks. Similarly, someone with a poor diet may also have poor oral hygiene, especially if they eat a lot of sugar. 

Without more research establishing a strong connection between your gums and your heart, it’s hard to say how one component will affect the other. 

Instead, the takeaway should be that your health is more interconnected than you might realize. Each part of your body works as part of a system, meaning one issue could cause a domino effect on other bodily functions. So, caring for every part of yourself is imperative, from your mouth to your heart. 

How to Improve Gum and Heart Health

Overall, you should pay closer attention to how you care for your body. Excellent oral hygiene can improve your smile and alleviate stress and inflammation elsewhere.

Here are some terrific tips to help your gums and your heart: 

  • Avoid Too Much Sugar – Sugar’s effect on the body is substantial, mainly when you overeat it. Sugar sticks to your teeth, and bacteria love to eat it. Excess sugar can also lead to diabetes and added stress on the heart
  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise is fantastic for your body because it helps pump blood and nutrients to every part. Good circulation can help alleviate problems like inflammation and plaque buildup within your blood vessels. Even better, exercise has been shown to improve gum health, too. 
  • Brush Often – Ideally, you should brush after every meal to remove food and plaque from your teeth and gums. Doing this can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, meaning there’s less of a chance it could spread to other parts of your body. 

Book an Appointment With Us!

Improving your smile may take more than just brushing and flossing. At Twin Rivers Periodontics, we specialize in procedures to help your smile look its best. From crowns to implants to laser treatments, we help you take charge of your oral health. Schedule an appointment today!