Linking your Dental Health to your Heart Health

Do healthy gums mean a healthy heart?

There’s no question that regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups can keep your mouth healthy.  If you have bleeding gums, research proves that your heart medication is not as effective as you think it is.  Why?  Your body is fighting an additional infection in your mouth because of the inflammation it is producing.

But if you fall short on your hygiene routine, can gum disease actually cause heart disease?

Two Theories on the Connection

ONE-  When oral bacteria are introduced into the blood stream, the bacteria could attach themselves to an already forming plaque on your arterial walls, accelerating arterial plaque or increasing inflammation at the site.

TWO – It’s possible that oral inflammation associated with periodontal disease increases your entire system’s susceptibility to inflammation.  Diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are inflammatory diseases.

So, preventing gum disease — periodontitis — can prevent heart disease. Treating gum disease can lessen atherosclerosis, the buildup of artery-clogging plaque that can result in a heart attack or stroke, according to an American Heart Association statement.

Warning Signs from the mouth

The mouth can be a good warning sign. People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk, but their heart and blood vessels, too.

Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors that contribute to inflammation in the body such as:

  • cigarette smoking
  • age
  • poor oral hygiene
  • systemic conditions such as diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • stress and poor coping behaviors
  • and possibly obesity

Although these shared risk factors may explain why diseases of the blood vessels and mouth can occur simultaneously, some evidence suggests that there may be an independent association between the two diseases.

Lower your risk

You can lower your risk of heart disease by prevention methods like:

  • using an electric toothbrush to reduce your risk of gingivitis
  • quitting smoking
  • managing your weight
  • controlling blood pressure
  • staying active.

Please comment below or call our office at 614-775-0840 if you have any questions on relating your oral health to your heart health

Resources:  LA Times, Hypertension journal

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