Did you know a healthy mouth can make your heart happy? It’s true! Studies show a possible link between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease – related by inflammation and bacteria – though it’s unknown whether one causes the other.
Whatever the connection, knowing about gum disease can help keep you protected. In its early stages, called gingivitis, gum disease can cause bleeding, redness, swelling and tenderness in the gums. If it persists, gum disease can advance to periodontitis, which causes loss of tooth tissue. But keep in mind that good oral health habits can help you prevent gum disease.
Regularly visiting your dentist is one of the best defenses against gum disease. Your dentist may be able to detect the disease early on, as well as spot symptoms of more than 120 other diseases, including diabetes. People with gum disease and heart disease share similar risk factors like age, diabetes and smoking – and both also contribute to inflammation in the body.
Along with regular dental visits, other healthy habits help prevent gum disease and keep your heart happy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once daily.
- Exercise and eat a healthy diet.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
Researchers continue to search for the exact connection between gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, take care of your teeth and gums to help maintain your oral and overall health.