February is American Heart month, and as it comes to a close we’d like to spend some time talking about the #1 killer of Americans – heart disease. You may be thinking, what could a dental practice have to weigh in on about heart disease, right? As we’ve discussed before, your oral health is directly toed to your overall physical health. Many studies have shown that people who have poor oral health, like gum disease or tooth loss, have higher rates of cardiovascular problems. This can include a greater risk for heart attack or stroke, which is why it is important to maintain oral health. Dr. Susana Kulangara and our talented team of Associates at Advanced Dental Arts of Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Lakeland, Citrus Park and New Port Richey can help you maintain a satisfactory dental routine, and keep a healthy heart!

There are many theories as to why oral and heart health are so closely linked. The most agreed upon conclusion between doctors and dentists alike comes from bacteria that grows in the mouth. The bacteria that infect the gums and causes things like gingivitis and periodontis can travel l to blood vessels elsewhere in the body. This will cause troubling conditions like blood vessel inflammation and damage and blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

A recent study from the European Society of Cardiology analyzed data from nearly a million people who experienced more than 65,000 cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes. After accounting for age, there was a moderate correlation between tooth loss, a common measure for determining poor oral health, and coronary heart disease.

Now that you know that gum disease can be linked to heart disease, it is important to look for the symptoms. Here are the most common, according to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP)

  • red and swollen gums, sore to the touch
  • bloody gums
  • pus around the teeth and gums
  • your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
  • frequent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
  • loose teeth

There is also a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and it has been proven that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment. The American Diabetes Association found that periodontitis has been identified as the sixth complication of diabetes. Advanced glycation end-products, altered lipid mechanisms, oxidative stress, and systemically elevated cytokine levels in patients with diabetes and periodontitis suggest that dental and medical care providers should coordinate therapies and work together when treating patients.

A healthy mouth and a regimen to keep it that way can help not just your teeth, but also your heart and other parts of your body. If you brush and floss regularly, and come see us at Advanced Dental Arts of Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Lakeland, Citrus Park and New Port Richey, you’re on your way to maintaining your health all throughout your body!