Research has shown that there are a number of links between the state of your mouth and your heart. For example, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease if you have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the mouth due to ineffective oral hygiene. When people have gum disease it is thought that the bacteria present in the mouth can enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream the bacteria produce proteins which can cause the platelets in the blood to stick together. Overtime this can cause clots to form, reducing the supply of blood to the heart. If the clots become severe enough, they can cause heart attacks.
Most people will suffer with gum disease at some point in their life and it is the main cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK. Your risk for gum disease increases as you get older but staying on top of your dental health should start in childhood.
Symptoms not to ignore!
- Sour taste in the mouth.
- Persistent bad breath.
- Bleeding gums.
- Swollen, tender gums.
- Pus or other signs of infection around teeth.
- Loose teeth.
Treating gum disease
There is no cure for gum disease, but it can be controlled. The key to controlling gum disease is good oral hygiene. Ensuring that all plaque and tartar are removed from your teeth, so it is important that you:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean your teeth interdentally every day, using floss, tape, or interdental brushes.
- Attend for regular routine dental appointments so any problems can be identified early.
- Attend for regular hygiene appointments so the dentist or hygienist can ensure all plaque and tartar is removed from your teeth.
Remember by ensuring you keep your teeth healthy; you are also helping to keep your heart healthy!