It's increasingly common to hear that oral health is vital for overall health. More than 80 percent of Americans, for example, are living with periodontal or gum disease, which often goes undiagnosed. This may be because the patient's teeth feel fine, so he avoids going to the dentist, and visits to the physician rarely focus on oral health.
According to Delta Dental, however, there is
Why Are These Things Related?
Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from your mouth to other parts of your body through the
Who Is at Risk?
Patients with chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease caused by poor oral health, particularly if it remains undiagnosed and unmanaged. The bacteria that are associated with gum infection are in the mouth and can enter the
Symptoms and Warning Signs
According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it's in its early stages, if:
- your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
- your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
- you see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
- your gums look as if they are "pulling away" from the teeth.
- you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
- or some of your teeth are
loose,or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably, so it reaches every tooth surface adequately. It also recommends that you use an ADA-accepted toothpaste such as Colgate Total*, which is proven to increase gum health in four weeks. You should also floss daily and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.
By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself from developing a connection between oral health and heart disease, and keep your smile healthy, clean and beautiful throughout your life.