Study Shows Connection of Gum Health to Heart Health

man with heart health problems

People who receive periodontal care have better outcomes after heart attack, finds a new study by University of Michigan researchers. 

Our practice, Complete Health Dentistry, is so named for our deep held beliefs that oral care is intricately connected to overall health care. Studies, such as this new one out of Michigan, continue to show evidence to support this connection. 

During this study, researchers evaluated patients who (1) were receiving periodontal care, (2) dental cleanings or (3) no dental care at all from 2016-2018 and who had acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in 2017. The study found that those who received periodontal care after their heart attack, required the shortest stays in the hospital. The patients with the longest hospital stays were those who received no dental care. This study provides more evidence of a link between oral health, specifically gum health, and the health of the heart. 

Poor dental care has been shown to lead to an increased risk of bacterial infection in the bloodstream which can affect heart health. Strong oral healthcare habits can literally be the difference in life and death for some extreme cases. 

Dental hygiene often focuses almost exclusively on the teeth, not giving gums the attention they need and deserve. Even if you brush daily, if you never floss, the chances of tooth decay, infection and halitosis are extremely elevated. Gum disease causes inflammation in the body and inflammation in the body leads to many health problems other than just the heart, as well. Wondering if you or someone you love may have gum disease? Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing 
  • Loose adult teeth
  • Receding gum line

Treatment of gum disease is most effective when started early after symptoms begin to show. In many cases, early treatment can lead to a full reversal of damage, while waiting to seek treatment can mean some of the damage is permanent for life and irreversible.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of gum disease or has recently had a stroke, heart attack or diagnosis of heart disease, please call our office today so you or they can get the care they need.