Although not many people may know it, there is a solid connection between poor oral health and heart problems. When left untreated, gum problems can lead to full blown heart disease, which only goes to show that taking care of your gums and teeth isn’t just about making sure your smile looks good and your teeth look white. It’s also about taking care of your overall well being.
Studies performed by cardiologists and dentists show a direct link between oral health and cardiovascular health. For instance:
· Statistics show that patients with extreme gum problems are more likely to suffer from heart disease down the road.
· Having healthy teeth and gums (or the absence thereof) is also a sign of your overall health—some signs of heart disease also manifest themselves in your gums and teeth.
· Heart problems caused by gum disease are normally associated with bacteria from the mouth making its way into the heart through the bloodstream.
How do you know if you have gum disease?
Many of the signs of gum disease and other oral-related problems are easy to recognize. It’s best to visit your dentist if you have the following symptoms:
· Red and swollen gums
· Gums that bleed after flossing and brushing
· Gums that feel like they’re separating from your teeth
· Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
· Loose teeth
When should you be worried?
Remember, if you have the symptoms mentioned above, you don’t necessarily have heart disease—but you are at risk for it. One reason for this is that gum and heart disease share several risk factors. These including smoking, poor diet, and other poor lifestyle habits.
To prevent gum problems, and even reduce the severity of your symptoms, you need to the following:
· Brush twice every day
· Floss every day
· See the dentist twice yearly
· Have your dentist check your gums if you think you have gum disease