Link Between Your Dental Health and Heart Health

By on October 23, 2013

Several scientific reports have shown that many oral conditions including periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay and tooth loss are more likely to have heart disease and heart attack compared to those with healthy gums.

Dental Health and Heart Health - Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can not only devastate your dental health, but it can also detrimentally impact your heart health as well. Brushing your teeth can prevent gum disease and improve your heart health too.

Gum disease is caused by inflammation of the tissues surrounding the tooth affecting the gum, the ligaments and the bone. It is the result of a bacterial infection and other factors such as smoking cigarettes, inadequate nutrition, being male and diabetes.

Periodontal disease may contribute to cardiovascular disease because bacteria from contaminated gums move through the blood vessels and forms fatty plaques inside the arterial blood vessels. These plaque buildups may lead to significant problems like blood clots.

Blood clots lower the blood flow to the heart causing an elevation in blood pressure and also raising the risk of heart problems.

Dental Health and Heart Health - Infective Endocarditis

Another condition that is caused by poor oral health is infective endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection in the arterial blood vessels and the chambers of the cardiovascular system. This kind of infection is caused by the same bacteria that cause gum disease.

Periodontal diseases may also increase the risk of some other health problems like diabetes, strokes, certain cancers, premature birth, rheumatoid arthritis, substance abuse and eating disorders.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include:

Dental Health and Heart Health - Symptoms of periodontal disease

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath [Tips To Get Fresh Breath]
  • Red, swollen and inflamed gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitive teeth

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, consult your dentist and discuss proper ways to prevent it.

What can I do if I already have heart disease?

Dental Health and Heart Health

If you already have cardiovascular disease, it is very important to have good dental hygiene practices. Good dental hygiene may help to avoid some types of heart infections like bacterial endocarditis.

Brushing and flossing regularly, visiting the dentist for regular cleaning and checkups. These good oral hygiene practices can improve oral health and also contributes to good heart health.

Follow these simple steps to keep your heart and mouth healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily using an anti-gingivitis toothpaste like crest pro-health toothpaste
  • Regularly floss your teeth
  • Seek professional dental care every six months
  • Make sure your dentist knows you have a heart problem
  • Eat a healthy diet to provide essential nutrients
  • Avoid smoking and smokeless tobacco
  • Use an anti-microbial rinse along with brushing and flossing
  • Educate the patient about the possible link between dental health and heart health

When we talk about the link between dental health and heart health, the common problem in both the diseases is inflammation. Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed and the bacteria invade the tissues. Also, most of the risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease.

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