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Matters of the Heart

Reflecting back on February it was the month of the year where matters of the heart and romance were definitely in season! A traditional highlight of February is Valentine’s Day, but not many people are aware that February was also International CHD (Childhood Heart Disease) Awareness month and American Heart Month.

So what does the heart have to do with oral health?

Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of studies and evidence suggesting links between gum disease (Periodontitis) and systemic diseases, especially heart disease.

Periodontitis in its most common form is a chronic, inflammatory infection of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. By itself, Periodontitis can cause loosening and eventual loss of the teeth.

Signs and symptoms of Periodontitis include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums;

  • Persistent bad breath;

  • Gums that bleed when brushing your teeth;

  • Receding gum line;

  • Loose teeth.

As Periodontitis is caused by bacteria and plaque trapped underneath the gums, this bacteria naturally has access to the bloodstream. Since all of the blood in our body is pumped by the heart, studies are beginning to find possible links to serious heart-specific conditions that include:

  • Endocarditis – a potentially life threatening infection of the heart;

  • Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular disease);

  • Stroke.

Unfortunately, there are also studies that now suggest links between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes or Type-2 Diabetes.

While this all sounds scary, it is an important to remember that just because you may have gum problems, it doesn’t mean you will develop any or all of the conditions mentioned.

The studies are showing us that there are growing links between oral health and the rest of the body. If we consider that the mouth is what we use to talk, eat and smile with everyday it definitely makes sense!

Health studies and information should be a reminder to all of us to stay on top of our general health, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health. If you haven’t had a thorough medical or dental examination lately and if you aren’t sure about the health of your gums, please organise a visit to your local dentist soon!

We hope this blog leads to better health for you and your family! If you have any questions or would like to book a consultation, please contact us on (07) 3493 0028 or

Take care and keep smiling!

Dr Chee and the Team @ Gateway Dental Health

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