Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.
The link between gum disease and heart disease
Researchers have found that people with dental gum disease (periodontal disease) are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those who do not suffer from gum disease. The link between gum disease and heart disease has been demonstrated in research conducted in European Universities and in the USA.
One theory explaining this link is that oral bacteria enter the blood stream, attach themselves to fatty plaques in the heart blood vessels (coronary arteries) and in this way, contribute to the formation of clots. The thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries, which is the main characteristic of coronary artery disease, is due to the build up of fatty proteins which effectively ‘fur up the pipe-work’. Because this thickening obstructs normal blood flow, the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly is also restricted and this may lead to heart attacks. Another possible reason for the link is that inflammation caused by gum disease increases plaque build up, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries.
How does gum disease have an effect on heart disease?
Periodontal disease can also make existing heart conditions worse. For example, the physicians of patients at risk for infective endocarditis may suggest antibiotics prior to dental procedures.
The symptoms of Gum Disease
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
As the research into the link between gum disease and heart disease has shown, some people are more genetically prone to periodontal and gum disease than others. So if gum disease runs in your family, you should be especially vigilant. Healthy gums are firm and light pink in colour. If you notice anything from the list below, make an appointment to see your dentist.
Red, swollen, inflamed gum
Bleeding after brushing or flossing your teeth
Receding gums (you can see more of your tooth than you used to)
Signs of pus on your gums
Experiencing pain when biting or chewing
Any loosening of your teeth
How to clean your teeth
A healthy smile could also mean a healthy heart
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Electric and manual toothbrushes from Amazon
6 top tips to help you avoid gum disease
Avoid gum disease and break the link!
Here are five top tips to help you.
1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use a fluoride toothpaste and brush for two minutes at a time. Ideally, you should brush after each meal and it is vital to brush your teeth before you go to bed. By maintaining good teeth hygiene, you will have healthy teeth and gums.
2. Get into the flossing habit. Try to floss at least once a day. If you don’t like using dental floss or tape, use a product like Wisdom clean-between brushes or tepe interdental brush. Cleaning between your teeth is the only way to remove the plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach.
3. If your dentist recommends it, use an antiseptic, antibacterial mouthwash. Not everyone needs to use a mouthwash but some people have trouble controlling the amount of plaque and bacteria in their mouths if they do not.
4. If you smoke, STOP! According to the American Academy of Periodontology, smoking may be one of the most significant risk factors in Periodontal or Gum Disease.
5. Eat healthily as vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies will make it harder for your immune system to function at optimum levels.
6. Get regular checkups with your dentist and have your teeth cleaned by the hygienist between visits.
If you need treatment for gum disease, you can get treatment for receding gums, gingivitits and other conditions from your dentist.
The month of May is National Smile Month in the UK so make a resolution to visit your dentist now if you have noticed any of the gum problems highlighted in this article and make sure you keep your winning smile!
Floss your teeth too!
How to floss your teeth
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periodontics from 4312 Woodman Ave Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 on December 25, 2011:
nice information on this hub.everybody should know about these points.
periodontal disease on September 23, 2011:
Really, your post is so good and also good information about Periodontal disease & treatment. Really now a days so many people have a main problem of their teeth. And simply they always in problem with periodontal disease. But now you can solve the problem through the treatment. Hey! here is a good video. and really i like it. Because you done that thing which no one can do.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on April 21, 2011:
Hi Basketballboy, thanks for leaving a comment and hope the project turns out well, glad you found the information on periodontal disease helpful.
Basketballboy on April 21, 2011:
I'm doing a project on Periodontal Disease and tis website helped me a lot! Thank you!
wheelchairs on February 17, 2011:
I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on August 07, 2010:
Hi Hubpageswriter - there is also research going on that could link gum disease to other problems too! Keep flossing!
hubpageswriter on August 06, 2010:
This is such a useful hub. I didn't know there are links between the two before. I'm going to have to take care of my gums well now.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 18, 2010:
Hi Mulbery, My Dentist told me to only floss the teeth I wanted to keep!
Christine Mulberry on May 18, 2010:
Once you get used to brushing and flossing regularly, you can't stop! I seriously can't go more than a short time after meals without at least brushing.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 16, 2010:
What a great tip, thank you for your comment.
Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on May 16, 2010:
Baking soda is a great plaque remover - add a little salt and simply brush - I do this twice a month - and what a difference it makes.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 15, 2010:
thanks for your comment, keep smiling!
Dilip Chandra from India on May 15, 2010:
nice hub... great advice... thank u.