February is an important month. It marks a time of recognition for the American Heart Association and gum disease awareness. However, this is more than just a coincidence. While it may seem surprising, the health of your gums can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of your heart. But how does this occur? Keep reading to learn how your gums affect your heart and what you can do to stay healthy.
How Can Your Gums Affect Your Heart?
When you think about your smile, you may picture your teeth, but your gums are just as important. Gum disease is a common problem that affects millions of Americans. This is an infection and inflammation of the gums that is typically caused by poor oral hygiene. If left untreated, it can lead to serious issues like tissue damage, jawbone deterioration, and even tooth loss. However, the problems don’t stop there.
In more recent years, studies have shown a direct link between the health of your gums and the health of your heart. Your body is a system, which means your oral and overall health is intertwined. The same inflammation that occurs in your gums can occur in your arteries, causing a higher risk of cardiovascular problems. In fact, studies show that gum disease can raise your likelihood of heart attacks and high blood pressure by 20%.
What are the Warning Signs of Gum Disease?
Because gum disease can have an impact on your overall health, it’s important to know and recognize the common warning signs:
- Tender or sensitive gum tissue
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Red gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that appear longer
- Changes in bite
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist right away for treatment!
How Can I Keep My Gums and Heart Healthy?
Thankfully, gum disease can be completely prevented if you have the right oral healthcare routine. Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for regular appointments because they can prevent and detect this problem before it gets more severe. You should also brush your teeth twice a day, paying close attention to your gumline. Additionally, floss once a day to remove any lingering plaque or bacteria from in between your teeth. Lastly, you can add a nonalcoholic mouthwash to your routine for an extra layer of cleaning. Some spots of the mouth can only be reached with a good rinse.
Now that you know the link between your oral and overall health, remember these tips to ensure your wellbeing and prevent gum disease!