Complication: Cardiovascular Disease


Chest pain (tightness or squeezing), shortness of breath, fatigue, heart palpitations (fluttering), shortness of breath, upper back or neck pain, pain in jaw or throat, swelling (feet, legs, abdomen), lightheadedness or dizziness, blue tinge to extremities. Symptoms vary between men and women. Some people have no symptoms.

It’s true: gum disease and heart disease are linked. While there is a lack of conclusive evidence that gum disease causes heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, there is enough research to suggest that you are at an increased risk of heart disease if you have periodontitis. Therefore, it’s important to do everything you can to keep your heart—and your mouth—healthy.

Serious gum disease, called periodontitis, is an inflammation of the gums. This usually causes shifting or loosening teeth and gum recession. This buildup of bacteria around the teeth is called plaque and can be severely problematic. The increase in bacteria can cause elevated levels of C-reaction proteins; higher C-reactive protein levels associated with periodontitis are also associated with increased heart disease risk.

One in every four deaths in the United States is due to heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. The association between gum disease and heart disease is too big to ignore.

Here are some ways to keep your heart healthy by keeping your mouth healthy:

  • See your dentist every six months
  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss once a day

Other great heart health tips:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Don’t smoke/stop smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep your blood pressure controlled

More information can be found here.