The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

At first thought, it may not seem like the well-being of your heart has anything to do with the current status of your oral health. But ongoing studies have begun to show that they could very well be related after all. [1] The understanding of the connection between gum disease and heart health has been an amazing advancement towards knowing how to efficiently care for our bodies and set ourselves up for long term health.

How are Gum Disease and Heart Health Connected?

Gum disease begins when plaque, which contains bacteria, builds up around the teeth. When individuals suffer from gum disease, they develop pockets in between their teeth. These pockets are very prone to infection. When the pockets develop an infection, this is called periodontitis.

If bacteria can access your bloodstream, you could begin to experience dangerous inflammation throughout your blood vessels. This will also begin to cause your arteries to harden. When this happens, it is harder for blood to reach the heart and puts you at a serious health risk, including a heart attack or stroke. [1]

Research also shows that people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event. [2] Although many people with heart disease have healthy gums, some of these shared risk factors should be considered. These include smoking or an unhealthy diet.

Proactive Steps to Take at Home

You’ll be happy to learn there are things you can do to encourage the health of both your teeth and heart. Many of these first steps even start at home!

Here are some “DIY” preventative care tips to keep you smiling: [3, 4]

  • Thoroughly brush your teeth, at least twice a day
  • Floss in between teeth, twice a day
  • Use mouthwash to decrease plaque/bacteria

Another factor to keep in mind is the components that increase your risk for gum disease. These factors include a poor diet, diabetes, tobacco use, age, and genetics, thus increasing your risk for future heart issues. [4]

Signs You Should See a Periodontist

It’s important to listen to your body and any physical signs of distress, and your dental health is no different! Taking quick steps to address new issues will help you avoid long term consequences and will minimize any damage done. If you begin to notice changes or experience oral discomfort, you should contact your periodontist right away.

Since gum disease can lead to infected pockets, and knowing the harm that bacteria can do, you need to be aware of the most common gum disease signs. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your periodontist immediately: [5]

  • Your gums appear inflamed, red, and tender
  • You notice bleeding during flossing or while brushing your teeth
  • Your gums seem to be receding, making your teeth look longer
  • Your teeth have begun to separate or become loose
  • You have chronic bad breath

These are only some of the symptoms you could experience, which is why regular checkups are highly recommended. Some more subtle signs may only be detected by your periodontist.

Contacting Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester

It may surprise you to learn about the connection between gum disease and heart health and how it affects your overall well-being. But with proper at-home care, along with regular visits to your periodontist, you can be sure you’re taking the first steps needed to keep your smile shiny and your heart healthy.

At Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester, we strive to provide care beyond your expectations, and that means caring for more than just your teeth! With our incredible staff and our personalized treatment options, you can rest easy knowing you’re in the best of hands, receiving the dental care you need.

To hear more about our services or if you have any questions, please contact us today. Taking back your health is only a phone call away, and we cannot wait to hear from you! 585-685-1005.





Board Certified Periodontist

Dr. Thomas Zahavi is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. He completed his post-graduate periodontal education at the Eastman Dental Center at the University of Rochester in 2006.

Dr. Zahavi obtained his combined DMD and Master’s degree Summa Cum Laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1997). He then pursued a speciality program in Prosthodontics (the restoration and replacement of teeth), receiving the highest honors in the residency program (2001). In 2003 he relocated with his family to the USA in pursuit of a residency program in Periodontology at the University of Rochester/ Eastman Institute for Oral Health. He was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation and honored with a research fellowship from a major dental implant company. He is a Board-Certified Periodontist (USA) and Prosthodontist (Israel). His clinical experience and training in the two specialities proves to be invaluable, especially in patients requiring comprehensive periodontal and implant treatments.

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