Prevent Gum Disease for a Healthy Heart

Prevent Gum Disease for a Healthy Heart

What do your gums and your heart have in common? Studies show people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. With gum disease, inflammation not only puts the mouth at risk, but can be a danger to the heart.

Links have also been found between gum disease and other serious health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, obesity and greater risks during pregnancy.

Many people don’t even know they have gum disease — called periodontal disease. Often there are no signs until the disease is advanced. Here’s the good news: You can prevent gum disease with a good daily oral routine. 

How Oral Health Affects Your Heart

Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that causes swelling in the gums. It also damages the bone supporting the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the blood stream and travel through the body to harm the heart and blood vessels.

Watch for Warning Signs

Gum disease has several tell-tale symptoms. Watch for these signs of trouble:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Lasting bad breath

Talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease. Together, you can create a care plan that’s right for you.

Prevention is Easy

You can help fend off gum disease with these good dental habits:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Eat good, well-balanced meals
  • Avoid sticky, sugary snacks
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year
  • Don’t use tobacco products

Remember, gum disease can cause serious health issues throughout your body. With good dental habits and professional oral care, you can help protect your health.

Check your plan benefits for details about your dental coverage. For more tips on the link between oral health and your overall health, visit Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM, click on the “Coverage” tab and then “Dental” to visit the Dental Wellness Center.

Sources: Gum Disease and Other Diseasesleaving site icon American Academy of Periodontology, 2023; The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease,, leaving site icon  Penn Medicine, 2022

Originally published 6/13/2016; Revised 2021, 2023