Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention. Did you know that heart disease and oral health are linked?
Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced periodontal disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums. Oral health also holds clues to overall health. Research has shown that oral health can provide warning signs for other disease or conditions, including heart disease.
Some researchers have suggested that gum disease may contribute to heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, and attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation. It has also been suggested that inflammation caused by gum disease may also trigger clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack.
While regular dental exams is the best way to detect early signs of gums disease, you can help by being aware of these signs:
– Red, tender or swollen gums
– Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
– Gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth
– Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
-Teeth that are loose or separating from each other.