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Gum Disease And Its Link To Heart Disease

It’s important to brush and floss twice a day in order to keep your teeth and gums free of cavities, gingivitis and other mouth infections. The goal for doing this seems pretty straight forward- keep your mouth healthy so you don’t lose your teeth. However, we are finding out that keeping a clean mouth, specifically focusing on your gums, is beneficial for other reasons.

New research is linking gum disease to other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and many other chronic ailments. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who took care to prevent periodontal disease had less medical expenses and overall better health than people who had gum disease. 

The study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that out of 339,000 dental records with periodontal disease, one in five of those people also had type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke or rheumatoid arthritis. They also found that those who were treated for their gum disease had lower medical expenses than those who never received treatment. Those with heart disease and diabetes who had gotten treatment for their periodontal disease cut their health care costs by 20 to 40 percent.

In order to prevent periodontal disease all it takes it daily brushing and flossing. The dentist can also help clear away the infection by scaling the gums. This is where the plaque is scraped away from the tooth and gum. If you already have gingivitis, his type of mouth care can actually get rid of the disease. However, if you do not treat your gingivitis, and let it continue to get worse, then it will turn into periodontal disease, exposing you to many other health risks. Once you start experiencing gum disease, the gums recede, creating a small pocket that will grow and grow without treatment. This infection will eventually get so bad that you will lose the tooth (or teeth) being attacked by the inflammation. 

This inflammation is the link between the periodontal disease and chronic health conditions. If you have a disease in your mouth (or anywhere) that area will become inflamed. If the inflammation persists for a while, then there is more of a risk of getting heart disease and diabetes, as well as other illnesses. By correcting the gum infection, these diseases are less likely to occur in the body. Remembering to take care of your mouth by flossing and brushing is the best way to prevent this type of correlation.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Partha S. Sahana

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