A Healthy Smile Can Also Be Good for Your Heart

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Gum Disease and Heart DiseaseThere are many things that we as human beings take for granted. One thing that comes to mind is our teeth and gums.

We believe they are invincible and can never fall out. Gum disease is nothing to joke about; it looks disgusting and can harm the rest of your body.

In addition to improving your oral health, gum disease treatment can also prevent heart disease. If done properly, it can even help in preventing heart attacks. You probably wouldn’t ever think that the two could possibly be related, right?

The Forsyth Institute Study

Our mouths and our hearts are being used every minute of every day. The connection between the two has never been fully understood, until now. A new study done by researchers at the Forsyth Institute illustrates the significant link between your mouth and your heart. The study showed that when applied topically, an oral remedy to reduce inflammation associated with gum disease can result in the prevention of inflammation in the blood vessels and reduce the risk of a heart attack.

The active ingredient in the inflammatory molecule, Resolvin E1, prevents plaque and further showcases that problems in the mouth and how they are treated can have life-changing effects on the rest of our body.

Take Care of Your Mouth and Your Heart Will Beat Happily

Would you believe that perfecting that beautiful smile could actually keep you from suffering a heart attack? Studies show that people who have advanced or even moderate gum disease are more prone to be affected by heart disease. Oral health can also provide important warning signals of other diseases and heart conditions that could potentially be present in the body.

A Word of Warning

Many of the gum disease risk factors are essentially the same factors that can lead to heart disease. These include tobacco, an unhealthy diet, and diabetes. Gum disease is triggered by plaque build-up below the visible gum line. Research has suggested that there’s a link between gum disease and heart disease because the plaque that builds up and causes the gums to get infected releases bacteria that can get dislodged, enter into the bloodstream, stick to the blood vessels, and then increase the formation of clots. The clots decrease the flow of blood to the heart, causing a rise in blood pressure, thus increasing your chances of suffering from a heart attack.

If you suffer from heart disease, make sure you inform your dentist. Also be sure to inform them about any medications you are currently taking. Follow your dentist’s and physician’s instructions, and always use the prescription medications and antibiotics as directed.

Research has shown that gum disease affects about 80% of adults in the US and often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed. These are some warning signs to look out for:

• Gums that swell, appear red, and/or feel tender

• Gums that bleed during flossing or brushing

• Receding or loosening gums

• Unpleasant taste in the mouth or bad breath

• Loose or drifting teeth

Gum Disease Treatment

The amount of bacteria that goes in and out of our mouths cannot be tracked, because there is so much of it. These bacteria, along with other particles and mucus, are constantly forming a sticky element called plaque that covers our teeth. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. Once tartar forms, no amount of brushing can remove it. This is where you need to seek cleaning by a dental hygienist.

Now that we know how gum disease is caused, let’s talk about the different types of gum disease you should be aware of:


The longer you leave tartar and plaque on your teeth, the more damaging they can become. Gingivitis is formed because the bacteria cause inflammation of the gums. As a result, the gums become swollen, appear reddish in color, and become more prone to bleeding due to increased sensitivity. Daily brushing along with daily flossing, however, can reverse the disease. Getting a professional cleaning from your dentist on a regular basis is beneficial in preventing gingivitis from forming.


It’s bad enough that we can get gingivitis, but when it’s not treated, it can get worse and develop into periodontitis. This means that the inflammation that you had on the gums has turned to inflammation around the teeth as well. This is caused by the gums becoming swollen and starting to pull away from the tooth, forming spaces called “pockets.” These pockets become infected. Because the body will naturally fight the bacteria that are forming, it forgets about the plaque, which then begins to spread and grow below the gum line. When this occurs, the body’s natural response to an infection begins to deteriorate the bone that is connected to the tissue that holds the teeth in place. If this is not treated right away, the gums, underlying bones, and tissues that are supporting the teeth get destroyed, which can cause the teeth to become weak, loose, and in certain cases, fall out or even require removal.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

With any disease, there are always risk factors. One risk factor that needs no introduction is smoking. This is one of the most significant risk factors linked to the development of gum disease. If you are a heavy smoker and have gum disease, there is a significantly lower chance of having it successfully treated.

Hormones are a natural element of the human body. But for females, these changes can actually make their gums more sensitive, making it easier for gingivitis to develop.

Those with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing gum infections and diseases. This is because their immune system is already weak, so fighting the infection is much harder.


You want your mouth to be comfortable and pain-free with a nice smile, pleasant breath, and the ability to enjoy any kind of food, no matter if it’s hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Unfortunately for many, this is not always the case. And when it’s not the case, you should look for the following symptoms that can be linked to gum disease:

• Foul breath that does not dissipate

• Red, puffy gums

• Tender gums that regularly bleed

• Pain when chewing

• Loose teeth

• Tooth sensitivity to eating or drinking hot or cold substances

If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to monitor them and increase your brushing and flossing. It would also be a good idea to contact your dentist and have them do an x-ray of your gums. Asking your physician about your medical history could potentially uncover something that may be contributing to your gum disease.

Gum Disease Home Remedies

As discussed, when you get gingivitis, you can remove it with constant brushing and flossing. In most cases, gum disease can be removed within a week—in rare cases, within a few days. However, sometimes the gums or teeth need to follow certain procedures— especially if you have suffered root canals or have metal fillings.

It all starts with a proper diet. If you eat junk food or very acidic foods, your teeth will rot. If you eat raw, organic, fresh vegetables, your gums and teeth gain the proper nutrients from those foods. Eating fruits is also a good part of the diet for your gums and teeth. Avoid acidic drinks as well. Soda, for instance, is so acidic that it actually leaches the minerals and vitamins from your gums and passes right through.

Below are other gum disease treatments that you can follow:

Don’t Smoke

This goes for any type of smokable substance, as it introduces a high concentration of free radicals and carbon into the mouth that will cause chemical reactions. This then causes our cells to become damaged, releasing the vitamins and minerals from our gums.

Chew Garlic

It may smell bad, but in the end, it’s worth it. You don’t have to eat it raw; you can add it to salads and other meals if you can’t handle the intensity.

Fix Those Intestines

If you have an infection in your mouth, it is most likely in your intestines as well. If you can cure the infection in your intestines, the rest of your body will follow suit.

Floss Regularly

When the dentist continues to tell you to floss daily, do it. It speeds up the healing process of the gums and also prevents cavities on the gum line from forming.

Make Your Own Toothpaste

Most store-bought toothpastes and mouthwashes are full of preservatives and chemicals that can end up doing more harm than good. Chewing garlic and brushing your teeth with baking soda and sea salt is actually more beneficial for your gums and teeth.

Let’s Be Honest

With all the tasty foods out there that we know can be harmful to our teeth, maintaining a healthy mouth can become challenging. The good news is that protecting our teeth and gums actually ties into our overall health and well-being. You most definitely don’t want to develop heart disease because the bacteria and plaque from your teeth has made it through your body to affect the heart. Brush, floss, and maintain a healthy and natural diet. If you do all of these things, your smile will be as healthy as your heart.

“How gum disease treatment can prevent heart disease,” Science Daily web site, April 14, 2015; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150414110424.htm.
“The heart and mouth connection: How heart disease and oral health link,” Delta Dental web site; https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/heart.html, last accessed April 24, 2015.
“Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments,” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research web site; http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm, last accessed April 24, 2015.
Edwards, M., “Heal gum disease in a week or less,” Natural News web site, October 6, 2014; http://www.naturalnews.com/047153_gingivitis_gum_disease_periodontitis.html.