Most people take care of their teeth and gums in hopes for a white, beautiful smile. But did you know that when you brush, floss, and visit Dentist Dr. Christopher Banks in Chevy Chase, MD, you’re also doing your heart a favor?
Gum disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Inflammation caused by gum disease may be responsible for heart disease. The bacteria that occurs when gums are infected is also found in the heart and is harmful to the rest of your body. If the gum layer is disrupted, bacteria from the mouth travels into your bloodstream, moving throughout the body. The bacteria found in gum disease can play a role in strokes and heart problems.
According to a recent study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, treating gum disease can lead to better health among those with certain conditions. Analyzing health and dental records from 339,000 people who had gum disease and one of the following: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy, had lower medical costs and less hospitalizations within four years of treatment of gum disease than those that weren’t treated. Specifically, those with cardiovascular disease who also had gum disease treated had medical costs 20-40% lower than those who did not have their gum disease treated.
Though more research is needed to declare a cause and effect relationship between gum health and heart disease, experts do agree that there is a link and at the very minimum, gum health can be an indicator of heart problems. Those with poor oral health have more heart attacks than those with better hygiene and gum health.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
• Constant bad breath
• Red, swollen, tender gums
• Bleeding gums
• Loose teeth
• Change in bite
• Gum and teeth separation
Though it’s not always intuitive, the body is all connected. Treating one aspect or condition can only improve other parts of the body. It’s important to see a dentist regularly to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to spot any potential heart problems. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease or it’s been more than 6 months since your last dental checkup, call our Chevy Chase, MD dentist office today to schedule a cleaning.