For years, doctors and dentists have been studying the oral systemic health connection, with particular interest in how the gums’ health could affect one’s heart, as well. Recently, both the Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology have indicated that gum disease is likely linked to increased risk of heart problems, such as heart attack and even stroke. These journals now recommend dentists warn patients struggling with poor oral health, including symptoms of periodontitis (gum disease), about their heightened risk of heart problems. So, while more research is needed to better understand exactly how the two are linked, it is becoming more and more clear that caring for one’s smile can have consequences for more than just the beauty of the teeth and gums. It can also affect one’s overall wellbeing!
What Research Means for Oral Care
Studies are still being done to better understand the link between oral health and one’s heart health, however it seems clear that the two are linked by the bloodstream, and both are susceptible to problems when chronic inflammation is present, as is the case with gum disease.
Routine dental visits are an important aspect of oral care, but regular dental hygiene and a healthy diet can also help protect one’s teeth and gums from the tartar buildup that often creates cavities and contributes to gum disease development, as well.
Of course, restorative treatment is also key, particularly when a person notices any signs of poor oral health, including chronic bad breath or dry mouth, sensitivity, or overly red or irritated gums, which look swollen or bleed easily. Prompt treatment of dental issues can help to improve one’s oral health, and in the case of the gums, might prevent heart-related problems as well.