Oral health is becoming more widely acknowledged as having a significant role in cardiovascular health, according to studies done over the past 25 years. Despite the lack of clear causative proof, researchers have connected several oral health problems to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction.
For example, Canadian Heart Association research indicated that people who brush their teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each time have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
What Is the Connection Between Oral Health and Heart Disease?
The spread of bacteria and other germs from the mouth to other body regions via the bloodstream is the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease. When these bacteria enter the heart, they can attach to any damaged site and create inflammation.
This can lead to diseases like endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining. According to the Canadian Heart Association, inflammation brought on by oral bacteria has also been linked to other cardiovascular conditions like atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and stroke.
More research is required to determine how periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease may be related, as there is research to both support and disprove the connection. Regardless of this relationship, maintaining good oral health is a vital part of your overall well-being.
Gum disease symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
- Loose teeth.
- Gums that are loose and pull away from teeth.
- Bad breath.
- Sensitive or sore teeth.
- Loss of taste.
How to Take Care of Your Teeth for Good Oral and Heart Health?
Taking appropriate care of your teeth and gums can lower your risk of tooth decay, gum inflammation, and oral infections such as abscess formation.
To maintain good oral health, one should:
- Visit a dentist at least once every six months.
- Brush and floss their teeth at least twice daily.
- Check that their dentures fit well.
What Do I Need to Talk About with My Dentist?
- Inform them of any oral health issues.
- Inform them of any heart problems and other health conditions.
- Inform them of any treatments or procedures your health care provider or dentist recommends.
- Inform them of any medications you are taking.
If you have questions regarding the side effects of your medications, consult your dentist and health care provider.
Who Is at Risk?
Undiagnosed and untreated chronic gum disease including gingivitis or severe periodontal disease increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The bacteria that cause gum infections are present in the mouth and can reach the bloodstream, where they can attach to blood vessels and raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, poor oral hygiene and accumulated plaque put you at risk for gum disease even if you don’t have any obvious signs of gum inflammation.
The bacteria can also travel into your bloodstream, causing an increase in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation. Your risk of heart disease and stroke may increase as a result.
Your overall health dramatically benefits from practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss regularly. In addition, you should inform your dentist about any medications you take if you have specific cardiovascular issues.
Having a healthy mouth and following a routine to keep it that way, such as quitting smoking and seeing the dentist regularly, can help you keep your teeth, whether the connection is direct, indirect, or just a coincidence. That should be sufficient motivation for you to prioritize your oral health.