The bad bacteria of gum disease are truly at the “heart” of the matter when it comes to whole body health.  The scientific research on the oral-systemic link specifically started with the connection between the health of the gums and heart health. Cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and blood vessels) is all too common in developing countries and is responsible for about 30 percent of all deaths in the United States. Yikes!  That means that  heart attacks and strokes are the number one cause of death in this country and much of it is preventable with simple START SOMEWHERE strategies.  Love your heart by treating gum disease.

Heart attacks have several major warning signs, including:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Upper body discomfort or pain the the arms, back, jaw, neck, or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweats

Women may experience subtle warning signs that are a little different than men.  Heartburn, abdominal pressure, and fatigue are signals that may actually be vague heart attack symptoms.  As women, we tend to ignore these signs.  Heart disease shortens the life of more women than all cancers combined. Thankfully, there is much that you can do to decrease your risk.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article in 2009 that states, “Several observational studies have indicated that periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory periodontal disease that results in the breakdown of bone that surrounds teeth, may be associated with an increased risk for MI (myocardial infarction/heart attack).”  Gingivitis is the early form of the disease in which bone breakdown has not yet occurred and some findings indicate that it also may be associated with heart problems.  As many research articles state, these two diseases are associated with each other, in other words, we can’t say that gum disease actually causes heart disease.  This is totally logical.  There is rarely a single cause for a chronic lifestyle disease.

How then do we live?  I never want to talk about a challenge without talking about solutions.  START SOMEWHERE today with simple solutions for decreasing your risk for gum disease or treating it, wherever you are on the health continuum:

  • Tell yourself the truth.  If your gums bleed at all, then you have inflammation. This is a “red light” telling you to stop and get help.  Find a dentist who takes bleeding gums seriously and who will teach you practical ways to help yourself.  
  • Make sure you have a dentist and/or dental hygienist who does an annual Comprehensive Periodontal Exam.  This is an objective way to detect pocket depth and bleeding points so that you know what needs to be done to restore your oral health.   
  • Consider Oral Probiotics.  Replenish is a pleasant-tasting meltaway that helps put good bacteria back in your mouth. These good bacteria can crowd out the bad bacteria and freshen breath.  I formulated them because so many products kill all the bacteria – good and bad. My patients love them for two reasons – enhanced gum health and fresher breath!
  • Increase your intake of raw vegetables.  I recommend starting with two cups a day and working up to seven or eight cups.  A good supply of antioxidants reinforces your immune system to fight toxins.  Also, the fiber will strengthen gut health.  
  • Get active.  Regardless of your level of movement, move a little more today than you did yesterday.  Exercise increases the oxygen and nutrient supply  to all the cells in your body.  This will benefit your heart and your gums!  
  • Get serious about your home care.  Ask a qualified Dental Hygienist what specific routine you need.  

We’ve come a long way in the last 20 years exploring the relationship between cardiovascular health and periodontal health.  We are making strides everyday!  I’ve seen it daily at my “front row seat of life” in my dental practice:  every part of your body affects every other part.  LIVE YOUNGER with simple strategies to increase your vitality and joy.  Love your heart by treating gum disease.  You can do it.  I will help you!   

Love Your Heart by Treating Gum Disease

Love Your Heart by Treating Gum Disease