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Your Guide to Gum Disease Symptoms and Heart Disease

Could gum disease be harming your heart? Learn how to spot problems and practice good oral care.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

How do you know if gum disease may threaten your heart health? While the connection isn't yet proven beyond a doubt, plenty of evidence points to dental disorders such as periodontal disease (disease of the gums and bones that support the teeth) and gum disease (also called gingivitis) having something to do with heart disease. Until researchers are sure, the best defense is to adopt good oral health habits and be on the lookout for problems with your teeth and gums.

"Healthy gums are firm, light pink, and very elastic," says periodontist Sally Cram, DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. So if that description doesn't fit the gums in your mouth, it's time for a checkup. Watch for these symptoms of gum disease:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding after you floss or brush
  • Receding gums or noticing that you seem to see more of a tooth than you used to
  • Pus on the gums
  • Pain when you bite or chew
  • Loose teeth

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