The Link Between Gum Health & Heart Disease

The Link Between Gum Health & Heart Disease

Introduction to Gum Health and Heart Disease

Did you know that your oral health plays a crucial role in the development of other conditions, namely heart disease? Cardiovascular disease represents just one of many risks when you don’t put in the effort to mitigate the effects of gum disease. Good oral hygiene can indicate better health outcomes across the board. 

If you are serious about taking control of your health, it starts with your mouth. 

Here is what you need to know about the link between gum disease symptoms and the potential risk of heart disease development: 

Understanding Gum Health

Gum health is at the core of what every dentist hopes to accomplish: Helping you maintain a healthy smile for decades. The gums connect the roots of your teeth to the rest of your mouth. If this connection is weakened through gum disease of any kind, you run the risk of losing your pearly whites. 

Keep your teeth secure by tending to your gums first and foremost. 

Common Gum Health Problems

Gum disease doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all variety. Two major types of gum disease are prevalent: Periodontal disease and gingivitis. 

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. This condition is a much milder form of gum disease that can develop into periodontitis over time. At first, it is simply marked by irritated, red, or swollen gums around the base of your teeth. Fortunately, this is reversible with good oral hygiene.

Periodontitis is what most people envision when thinking about a serious gum infection. This condition ruins the tissue around the teeth and even disrupts the bone that anchors your teeth in place. The result is a smile that is missing a few important players. It is the most serious type of gum disease, but it may be prevented if you notice it at an earlier stage. 

Understanding Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease poses a serious threat to your well-being, and it comes in multiple forms. Many of the issues that present themselves are related to the blockage of blood vessels that run through the body and connect back to the heart. 

From coronary artery disease to heart failure, there are serious issues to be aware of when it comes to the more general term of heart disease. 

Common Types of Heart Diseases

Coronary artery disease is the first type of cardiovascular disease we will look at. High cholesterol levels often put you at a higher risk of developing this condition because the cholesterol blocks the arteries and leads to inflammation. The result is that less blood and nutrients can make their way back to the heart. 

Another serious condition is heart failure. This occurs when the heart is no longer strong enough to pump enough blood and nutrients to give the body what it needs. It surfaces with symptoms like difficulty breathing, fatigue, and even coughing. 

Unveiling the Link Between Gum Health and Heart Disease

While it may not appear to be related, gum disease and heart disease are inextricably linked to one another. Oral bacteria can be a key risk factor when it comes to the development of coronary artery disease or even heart failure. How do these two seemingly unrelated body systems connect? 

When you have poor oral health, it often is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This is what leads to the early stages of periodontal disease when the gums suffer from inflammation and may be sore. Unfortunately, these bacteria will not remain in the mouth alone for long. 

Instead, they travel throughout the body and often land in the heart valves and the heart itself. Once they land here, they take a serious toll on your blood vessels. The inflammation caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth also leads the blood vessels to narrow as in heart failure. 

Infection in the bloodstream can also contribute to greater risk factors when it comes to immediate and serious medical conditions like a heart attack. If you can see the link between oral health and heart health, you can put a stop to it in its early stages before it becomes an issue. 

How To Maintain Good Gum Health

If you want to minimize other cardiovascular risk factors, you should consider starting by minimizing periodontal diseases. This can be as simple as eliminating oral bacteria through good oral hygiene practices like brushing twice daily and flossing between the teeth. 

Pay careful attention to the areas where the teeth and gums meet for both activities. With attention to detail here, you might be able to reverse early-stage gingivitis and reduce your cardiovascular risk. 

Regular Dental Cleanings

Professional dental cleaning, like the services offered by Fresh Dental, should be a priority for everyone. Most people can benefit from twice-annual cleanings where a hygienist or dentist can scale plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line. 

A skilled team can remove bacteria that lead to inflammation in the rest of the body. The goal is to both reduce and manage all of the risk factors that contribute to other conditions. We can help you catch periodontal disease early before it turns into a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease or a more serious heart attack. 

Prevention and Treatment of Gum Health and Heart Disease

If you are determined to take control of gum disease and heart health, then it is time to look at what you can do to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Beyond regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleaning, you can take simple actions like swishing with mouthwash. 

You can also take action by quitting smoking or changing your dietary habits to include less unhealthy foods that contribute to poor oral health. 

Treating Gum Diseases

To eliminate the link between gum disease and heart disease, you may need to take further action. The first step is often to schedule more frequent professional cleanings where we can scale and eliminate tartar and plaque buildup around the gum line. 

We can also scale and plane the teeth to make this buildup less likely. Planing the tooth below the gumline allows your gums to reattach to the tooth more easily, minimizing the risk of tooth loss in the future. 

If you lose teeth to advanced gum disease, dental implants may be an option when you get the worst of the inflammation under control. 


Gum disease and heart disease are inexplicably linked, so you should aim to take care of your teeth as much as possible. Fresh Dental is here to help you with all of your oral health needs!