Research continues to prove links between gum disease and heart disease. The latest study out of the University of Florida (UF) showed the same bacteria that causes gum disease also promotes heart disease. In this post, we’ll explore the link between these two conditions and explain our preventative gum disease philosophy.

Some Quick Stats

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the North America. Gum disease is widespread across the U.S. In fact, more than 64 million Americans have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A Growing Link

In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) published a statement that they support the association between these two prevalent and dangerous diseases, but not causal association. This means that they aren’t ready yet to say that gum disease increases the risk of getting heart disease.

An image of a tooth situated in the gum.In the UF study, mice were injected with specific bacteria known to cause gum disease. The researchers then traced the bacteria’s spread. Once the bacteria were detected in the mouse gums, heart and aorta, researchers saw an increase in risk factors associated with heart disease.

While it’s too early to tell if the new study will change the AHA’s stance, it may be a matter of time. The National Institutes of Health says, “Researchers have observed that people with gum disease (when compared to people without gum disease) were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar…More research is needed to clarify whether gum disease actually causes health problems beyond the mouth, and whether treating gum disease can keep other health conditions from developing.”

How We Help Our Jacksonville Patients

Even without the relationship to heart disease, controlling gum disease can save your teeth. And the best way to control it is by catching it in its early stages.

This is one of the main reasons we recommend a check-up every six months. The schedule gives us the ability to clean away plaque before it hardens into tartar, the main causal agent of gingivitis and periodontitis.

We also encourage any of our patients to schedule an appointment if they begin suffering from any of the following gum disease symptoms:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

We’ll do a thorough exam and recommend a course of treatment that will save your teeth, gums, and maybe even your heart. Call 904-384-4391 or message us on Facebook if you’d like more information.