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Can Poor Oral Health Really Cause Heart Disease?

Tending to your oral health will not only help to preserve your dazzling smile, protecting your confidence as you radiate happiness, but it could also quite literally save your life.

Poor oral hygiene, specifically concerning the state of your gums, could have a direct effect on your heart health. 80 percent of Americans have developed some stage of periodontitis, a gum disease that slowly destroys both the soft tissue and bones that work in conjunction to protect your teeth. Every year, heart disease claims the lives of around 610,000 Americans, making it the number one killer of both men and women.

What is the link between oral health and heart health?

There has been extensive and ongoing research dedicated to uncovering the correlation between oral health and a healthy heart. While there is still vital information that demands to be brought to the forefront, there is an undeniable connection between gum disease and heart disease. 28 percent of individuals who have one of these conditions are also affected by the other, illuminating an obvious link between the two. The germs found in your mouth can spread to other areas of your body through the bloodstream, cycling them through the body and eventually carrying them to the heart, where they cause inflammation.

Who is at the greatest risk?

Americans diagnosed with moderate to severe levels of periodontitis – or individuals living with other chronic oral conditions such as gingivitis – are at the greatest risk for developing a heart condition. The longer these oral conditions progress without treatment, the more likely it is turn into something more serious, having a very detrimental – or even fatal – effect on your health. What is even more shocking is that gum disease can often go undiagnosed, so there are a significant percentage of individuals who are unaware that they are even at risk.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

If you are currently experiencing one or all of these symptoms, it is important to seek diagnosis and treatment to help prevent symptoms from worsening:

  • gums that are swollen, red, or sore to the touch

  • excessive bleeding while brushing your teeth, flossing, or eating

  • pus or any obvious infection around the teeth

  • consistent bad breath

What are the best practices for oral health care?

Preventing gum disease should be a top priority. When you implement these preventative measures into your daily routine, you are making your health a priority:

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Regular brushing and flossing will help to rid your mouth of that dangerous bacteria that could eventually find its way into your bloodstream.

Change your dietary habits. What you put into your mouth has a direct impact on tooth and gum health. Avoid eating an excessive amount of sugar.

Say no to tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco are some of the quickest ways to deteriorate your teeth and gums. If you currently do either, seek professional guidance to help you quit.

Be proactive in your oral health! Not only will you protect your teeth and gums against future decay, prolonging a smile you are confident about showing off, you could be adding years to your life.

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