Symptoms of gum disease
According to the American Heart Association, if you have symptoms of periodontal disease, see your dentist soon for treatment.
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth come together when you bite down2
Inflammation may be the link
Periodontal disease and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes. Both also contribute to inflammation in the body. And although shared risk factors only explain why both may occur together, there may also be other evidence that suggests an independent association between the 2 diseases.3
Independent researchers, as well as government agencies, continue to investigate this link. Some studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth that are involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream. When they do, they can cause an elevation in a certain protein which may, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.4
According to the American Dental Association, here are things you can do to help avoid gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss or use another between-the-tooth cleaner daily to remove plaque and bits of food from areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Your dentist or hygienist may recommend using a germ-fighting mouthwash or other products.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly. If plaque stays on your teeth, it hardens into tartar. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar, which traps bacteria along the gumline.5
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.