Fact or Fiction: Gum Disease Affects Heart Health?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 647,000 Americans die annually from cardiovascular disease. Your physician encourages you to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to protect your heart health, but that’s not the only way you can ward off cardiovascular-related conditions. Believe it or not, your dental health can impact your heart. In fact, research shows a direct connection between gum disease and your risk of various cardiovascular issues. Thankfully, you can promote a healthy smile and heart by keeping a few tips in mind.

Link Between Gum Disease and Your Heart

Although tooth decay is the most prevalent oral health issue, gum disease is the leading cause of missing teeth. The preventable infection is the result of bacteria found in plaque and tartar accumulations, often from improper oral hygiene habits. When left untreated, it destroys the supporting structures of the teeth, ultimately leading to tooth loss.

Unfortunately, the complications don’t stop there. The bacteria can also enter your bloodstream through the pressure of regular chewing. As it circulates throughout the body, it increases your risk of various health issues, primarily relating to the cardiovascular system.

Your body responds to the bacteria with inflammation and the formation of fatty plaque deposits. This causes the arteries to narrow, increasing your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Although you may not think you’re at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 50% of adults have a form of gum disease. Sadly, most people aren’t aware they have it.

If you’re among those who miss the early warning signs of gum disease or skip getting the treatment you need; you’re not just placing your smile at risk. You’re also 2-3 times more likely to develop heart disease.

Promoting a Healthy Smile and Heart

While gum disease is common, you can prevent it from wreaking havoc on your smile and your overall health by following a few easy tips:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean all surface of your teeth for at least 2 minutes.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Use a high-quality dental floss to clean in between each tooth and around the gum line daily.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol in excess.

If you develop any early signs of gum disease, like redness, swelling, or bleeding, don’t wait to contact your dentist. They can stop the infection to save your smile and keep your heart healthy using a customized treatment plan.

About Dr. Benjamin Naylor

Dr. Benjamin Naylor strives to help his patients achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful smiles. Besides his dental degree, he also has special training in an area of dentistry he’s passionate about – surgical procedures. He enjoys even the most complex oral health cases, which he treats using advanced dental solutions. If you have gum disease, he can help. Contact our office today for an appointment.


498 Harlow Rd #2, Springfield, OR 97477

Phone: (541) 345-5363

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