Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies have found there is a correlation between gum disease and your heart health.
Gum disease symptoms to watch out for:
- persistent bad breath
- swollen, red gums
- tender gums that bleed easily
- pain with chewing
- highly sensitive teeth
- receding gums or sunken teeth
- loose teeth or changes in bite
Dr. Koehne will evaluate your teeth and review your medical history. During your visit, he may:
- measure your gums with a tiny ruler to check pocket depth
- evaluate your gums for signs of inflammation and plaque buildup
- take X-rays of underlying jaw bone to look for bone loss
- examine sensitive teeth for receding gums
If Dr. Koehne suspects heart disease, he will make a diagnosis based on your medical history, the severity and duration of your symptoms, and the results of a physical examination.
Here are common symptoms of heart disease:
- chest pain, also known as angina, resulting from your heart not getting enough oxygen
- arrhythmia, also known as irregular heart beat
- shortness of breath
- unexpected fatigue
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- sudden confusion or impaired thinking
- excess buildup of fluid, known as edema
- heart attack
Dr. Koehne will also evaluate your blood and examine risk factors for heart disease, such as family history and body weight. They can confirm a diagnosis with the following tests:
- EKG to record the heart’s electrical activity
- chest X-ray to visualize the heart and other organs in the chest
- blood tests to evaluate levels of proteins, lipids, and glucose
- stress test to document abnormal changes in your heart beat and breathing during exercise
There are many healthy lifestyle habits you can use to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce your risk of gum and heart diseases.
- Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste. Ask Dr. Koehne to demonstrate the correct technique for brushing.
- Floss between your teeth and gums at least once per day.
- Use mouthwash regularly.
- Only use teeth cleaning products that have the American Dentist Association’s seal of approval.
- Refrain from smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco.
- Drink water that contains fluoride.
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, high-fiber foods, low-sugar fruits, and vegetable-based proteins.
- Maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes.
- See Dr. Koehne twice per year for regular cleanings and checkups.
- Be mindful of early signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums and constant bad breath. Let Dr. Koehne know if you have any of these symptoms.
As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.
To schedule an examination, please contact our office.