Did You Know Your Gums Affect More Than Your Smile?


Most people look at their teeth as the foremost indicator of good dental health. However, it’s the gums that are often the clearest sign of either a healthy mouth, or one that’s in trouble. Inflamed or bleeding gums could be warning signs of gum disease, which varies in severity and consequences. Most importantly, poor gum health can effect more than just a person’s smile. It can have drastic effects on heart health as well. 

How Your Heart and Gums Are Related

More and more studies are linking gum health to other parts of the body, but especially to the heart. Oral inflammation, like all inflammation, is the body’s way of responding to injury or infection. In the case of periodontal disease, the inflammation is often caused by tartar buildup.

While sore, tender or red gums are easy to overlook, these are early warning signs of periodontitis, which is the most severe form of periodontal disease, and which has direct correlations to heart health.

Studies indicate that people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely than those with healthy gums to have Cardiovascular Disease, or heart disease. Those patients are also more likely to have heart attacks or strokes, and can be at risk for worsening other conditions, such as diabetes.

Warning Signs of Gum Problems

  • Healthy gums should be pink and firm. Redness or swelling are early indicators of problems, which could include gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease.
  • Bleeding during flossing or brushing is another likely indicator that gingivitis may be present. This is a compelling reason to both keep flossing, but also to schedule an appointment with the dentist.
  • Chronic bad breath can also be an early sign of gingivitis.

The Good News About Gum Health

Yes. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis or cause further problems, both orally and throughout the body. Fortunately, when caught early, gingivitis is often reversible.

By eliminating the tartar buildup, dentists can often drastically improve the health of the gums.

Regular dental checkups can also prevent problems with future tartar buildup. Remember, tartar cannot be removed with brushing or flossing; it must be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist, which is why, at Keelan Dental, we’re passionate about preventive dentistry.

Proper gum care is one of the key aspects of creating not only a long-lasting, healthy smile, but also, a healthier you.


Dr. Keelan and our dedicated team at Keelan Dental offer patients the comfortable, convenient dental care that everyone needs and deserves. To schedule an initial consultation, or your next dental appointment, call our office in Butler, PA at (724) 285-4153. We proudly welcome patients of all ages from Butler, Cranberry Township, Mars, Pittsburgh, Butler County, and all surrounding communities.