Several studies have shown a potential association between gum disease and heart disease as well as other diseases.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums, and it can breakdown the bone tissue that holds the teeth in place. It’s a generally painless disease that gives few warning signs in its early stages, but it can inflict damage to your oral health and other areas of your body.
Some of the symptoms of gum disease include persistent bad breath, swollen/red gums, gums that bleed easily, pain with chewing, highly sensitive teeth, receding gums, or loose teeth.
People with gum disease seem to have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. But there may not be a direct connection because there are many people with heart disease who have healthy gums, and not everyone with gum disease develops heart problems. Researchers think shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association. Nevertheless, the American Dental Association and American Heart Association have acknowledged a relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
Gum disease may also be related to other diseases such as osteoporosis, respiratory disease, certain forms of cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The good news is that there are many healthy things you can do to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce the risk of gum disease, including:
- Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss at least once a day
- Have regular dental checkups twice a year