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Oral and gum inflammation is not only indications of decreased oral health, but they can also gauge or affect larger health problems. According to an article on the Mayo Clinic‘s website, “Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to” heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, pregnancy, and other conditions.

Heart Disease

No direct link between gum disease and heart disease has been proven yet, but the possibility is always being explored. An abstract published on the American Heart Association‘s website in 2012 suggests that inflammatory gum disease may be related to the way bad cholesterol affects the body. And of course, as Ann Bolger, M.D. states, “People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk but their heart and blood vessels, too.” People who smoke, are sedentary, or have problems controlling their blood pressure tend to be candidates for both health issues, so the connection is certainly one worth considering.

Alzheimer’s Disease

It may surprise you to find out that oral inflammation is also associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Periodontal disease can be a factor in how Alzheimer’s Disease gets worse. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease says certain kind of oral bacteria “are implicated in the development of a number of inflammatory pathologies at remote organ sites, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).” Start taking preventative measures early on by brushing and flossing regularly to ensure the periodontal disease is one less factor in negotiating good health as you age.

Make a Habit of Good Oral Care

If you’re not sure where to start, be sure to brush and floss twice a day, and make an appointment with your dentist to learn how best to care for yourself, and your teeth, through the years.