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David M. Rizk, DDS

Oral Health Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

added on: February 4, 2022

David M. Rizk, DDSYour mouth and your heart may seem to have little in common, but there is actually an intricate relationship between oral health and cardiovascular health. In fact, a number of the symptoms people experience with their oral health can be early warning signs of a heart condition. This is one reason why it’s so important to see your dentist in El Paso regularly, especially if your gums bleed when you brush or floss. 

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissue that, if left untreated, can lead to a whole host of other problems, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular and oral health problems. This connection has been known for quite some time but continues to be researched regularly. Just a year ago, researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute published an article in the Journal of Periodontology that described active gum disease as an early warning sign of a heart attack. The reason why leads back to inflammation, and they found that gum inflammation can also cause inflammation in the arteries, which is one of the main risks of a heart attack.  

Oral Health Warning Signs

Since gum disease can affect so much more than the mouth alone, it’s important to know what to look out for. Like many health conditions, gum disease is treated more successfully and the risk of heart attack decreases if it’s caught early on. Some ways your oral health can show a potential problem is through these common signs: 

  • Gums that bleed, especially while brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Swollen, red, or purplish gums
  • Difficulty chewing without pain
  • Constant bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • New spaces between your teeth or changes in your bite

Seeing your dentist in El Paso is the best way to monitor your oral health for gum disease and other potentially serious problems. Make sure you get a dental checkup and cleaning at least twice a year. 

Protect Your Gums, Lower The Risk

Most cases of gum disease are a result of poor oral hygiene. When we brush and floss our teeth, we’re doing our best to remove as much plaque as possible. However, if we don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can quickly harden into tartar. Tartar is loaded with bacteria that can creep up into the gum tissue and cause infection. So, the best way to protect your gums against gum disease and your heart against a heart attack is to take great care of your teeth. This means brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist in El Paso.

If you notice any signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. 


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