Is gum disease bad for your heart & mental health?

Gum disease is a serious gum infection that will affect your soft tissues and in the long term will destroy the bone that supports your teeth leading to tooth loss.  It does not stop there though it can affect every serious vital organ in your body and impact your mental health.

study out of the University of Birmingham recently showed that patients with a medical history of gum disease are more likely to develop mental health or heart conditions.  Let’s break down the analysis and explain how you can prevent gum disease.

Why gum disease leads to mental health & heart conditions:

team of experts studied the medical records of 64,379 patients who had a history of any form of gum disease (60,995 had gingivitis and 3,384 had periodontitis).  Their records were then compared to 251,161 patients without any record of gum disease with similarities to the gum disease group in body mass index (BMI), race, age, and gender.  The team analyzed the data to determine which patients would, later on, develop cardiovascular disease or mental health conditions.

The study found that patients with a history of gum disease at the start of the study over an average of 3 years were far more likely to be diagnosed with depression, heart disease, or another mental illness (37%) or heart condition (33%).  For cardiovascular disease specifically, patients with a history of gum disease were 18% more likely to develop this condition or 26% if the patient had diabetes.

Co-author of this study Dr.Joht Singh Chandan said “poor oral health is extremely common, both here in the UK and globally, and can lead to a decreased quality of life.”  If this condition is not properly prevented in Canada our health system will be overflowing with all the conditions that can be developed due to gum disease.

It is clearly becoming increasingly important for you to visit your dentist to prevent gum disease as the condition can also lead to Arthritis and neurological impairments like Alzheimer’s.

How can I prevent gum disease?

  1. Brushing twice a day, flossing, using a tongue scraper, as well as a fluoridated toothpaste to reduce mouth bacteria
  2.  Pay attention to the amount of sugar that you ingest, such as soft drinks and candies laden with sugar along with your overall nutrition
  3. Try to limit snacking as each time you eat your teeth experience an acid attack which can damage your tooth enamel
  4. Consider taking oral probiotics
  5. Go to your dentist twice per year to stay on top of plaque build-up and recession of your teeth
  6. Manage your stress and get a bruxism night guard to prevent your teeth from being worn down by teeth grinding or clenching

What dental services can help my oral health?

  1. Use Invisalign to repair fix crowded and misaligned teeth which will result in more plaque and bacteria
  2. Teeth whitening can also improve your digestive and oral health by fighting deep, penetrating stains and bacteria deep within your mouth
  3. Dental hygienists have access to dental instruments, performing deep cleaning within your gums to remove plaque and tartar that you won’t be able to reach by yourself

If gum disease runs in your family you may need to visit a dental hygenist even more often than twice a year, while staying on top of teeth misalignment issues and teeth whitening.