Skip to main content

Heart Disease and Oral Health

By February 16, 2023oral health
Tooth decay and heart disease as an unhealthy molar with periodontitis due to poor oral hygiene health problem as a bacteria infection in the blood as a concept with inflammation as a 3D illustration on a white background.

February is American Heart Month and a time to educate the public about heart disease and prevention. Your oral health has a direct effect on your heart and poor oral health can lead to heart disease! If you’re looking for a dentist in Wichita to help you reduce the risk of developing heart disease caused by gum disease, Dr. Kristyn Barker can help. You need to know how poor oral health affects your heart, who is at risk, and the warning signs of gum disease.

Oral Bacteria and the Heart

The bacteria in your mouth can travel to the rest of your body, including the heart. When you have poor oral health including infected teeth or gums, or gum disease, this harmful bacteria can cause inflammation in damaged areas of your heart. Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s inner lining and can be caused by oral bacteria. Sometimes doctors will prescribe antibiotics for people who are having certain dental procedures to prevent endocarditis.

The American Heart Association has also linked atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), and strokes to the bacteria caused by oral bacteria. Additionally, studies are being performed now that show a possible link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Who is at Risk?

People who have gum disease including gingivitis as well as advanced periodontal disease are at a higher risk. The risk increases if the gum disease is untreated. Even if you don’t have noticeable gum disease, you can still be at risk due to inadequate oral hygiene. Lack of brushing, flossing, and regular exams and cleaning can put you at a greater risk.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease has a variety of symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Gums that are swollen or inflamed and sore are likely to be diseased. Bad breath can be another indicator of gum disease, especially if you also have a bad taste in your mouth. Loose teeth or teeth that appear to be pulling away from the gums are also symptoms of advanced gum disease. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist.

Looking for a Dentist in Wichita?

Dr. Kristyn Barker and her team would love to help you reduce your risk of heart disease and help improve your oral health. Contact us to schedule an appointment!