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InterView Magazine

The Gum & Heart Disease Connection

Your mouth is a window
into what’s going on in
the rest of your body.
An unhealthy mouth may
increase your risk of serious
health problems.

How can bacteria affect my arteries & heart?
        Bacteria from the gums attach to the coronary arteries, which causes blood clots. These clots can obstruct the regular flow, restricting the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrients needed for the heart to function. When the arteries are restricted the body is at a high risk of heart attack or stroke.
        Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are about twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without gum disease.
        Regular dental screenings, evaluations, treatment and professional maintenance are critical to the long-term management of your dental health.

What is periodonitis and what are the signs?
        Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the most common infections — often more common than an ordinary cold. Typical signs of gum disease include bleeding of the gums, or pus between the teeth. Left untreated this
chronic infection can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. It can also lead to tooth loss and increase the risk for other systemic diseases.

How am I at risk for gum disease?
SMOKING: One the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease, it also lowers the chance for success in some treatments.

DIABETES: People diagnosed with diabetes are generally at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal disease.

STRESS: Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for our bodies to fight infection, including periodontal disease.

MEDICATIONS: Some drugs such as anti-depressants and some heart medications affect your dental health because they reduce the flow of saliva. (Saliva has a protective effect on teeth and gums).

GENETIC SUSCEPTIBILITY: Some people are more prone to severe periodontal disease.

        Be sure to take advantage of your dental benefits through Dental Health Services and keep a regular schedule for your dental check-ups and cleanings. Inform your dentist of any of the risk factors listed above so they can mark it in your dental records and observe your oral health for early signs of infection.
        If you have questions please contact your Dental Health Services representative at 800-637-6453 or visit online at

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