Healthy gums reduce your risk for systemic inflammation and might be good for your heart as well! Through studies, the American Heart Association (AHA) supports that there is an association between periodontal disease and heart disease. Their findings join previous conclusions of the American Academy of Periodontology along with statements published in the American Journal of Cardiology and by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The relationship between the two diseases seems to be the result of chronic inflammation. Development of cardiovascular disease in some patients can be triggered by the inflammation of gum disease. Like many serious diseases, periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are both complex diseases that develop over time and can stem from a number of factors.
For example, tremendous research has been devoted to breast cancer. Still, no one can say for sure what causes it to develop. Although certain risk factors increase one’s potential, a direct link is unknown. The same dilemma exists with periodontal disease and coronary artery disease. While it’s known that gum disease inflammation triggers a reaction in the coronary system, pinpointing how the process leads to heart disease is yet undetermined.
The American Heart Association does point out, however, the association is real and independent of shared risk factors, such as smoking, being overweight or having a family history of heart disease. Just because we don’t have all the answers at this time, the AHA warns of the increased risk and encourages reducing the potential of developing periodontal disease.
Additional long-term studies are needed to better understand the relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. For now, just know that healthy gums help to minimize harmful inflammation in the body and therefore reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
For those who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, prompt treatment is advised to restore your gums to a healthy state. Periodontal disease only worsens without treatment and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, in addition to health risks throughout the body. Early symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, swollen gums that are tender and red, and persistent bad breath.