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The Connection Between Heart Disease and Oral Health

  • February 21, 2022
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You might think the mouth and the heart have nothing in common. However, certain scientific evidence suggests that they may be linked.

Over the last few years, a diverse group of researchers and oral care professionals have investigated the potential link between heart disease and poor oral hygiene. According to a Harvard Medical School study, people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely as those without it to have heart disease.

There are several current theories regarding the relationship between poor oral health and heart disease.

1. Bacterial Infections

Researchers believe that bacteria found in gum disease can spread throughout the body, causing inflammation in blood vessels and infection in heart valves.

2. Immune Response

This theory contends that, rather than bacteria, inflammation from the body's natural immune response causes a variety of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain.

3. Other Variables

According to this theory, there is a third factor, such as smoking or a lack of access to healthcare, that may link the two.

People with heart disease are at a higher risk.

When you have gum disease, the bacteria that live in your mouth can enter your bloodstream, travel to your heart, and directly infect the vulnerable heart valves. This is particularly concerning for patients who have artificial heart valves. Infections in the bloodstream, particularly those affecting the heart valves, necessitate immediate treatment by a cardiologist.

What symptoms and warning signs?

Even if it is in its early stages, you may have gum disease if:

  • Your gums are swollen, red, and tender to the touch
  • When you chew, brush, or floss, your gums bleed
  • If you notice pus or other signs of infection around your gums and teeth
  • It appears that your gums are "pulling away" from your teeth
  • If you have bad breath on a regular basis or notice a bad taste in your mouth
  • Some of your teeth are loose or seem to be moving away from the rest of your teeth

Prevention

There are numerous healthy lifestyle habits that you can help to maintain good oral hygiene.

  • Brush your teeth and tongue with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day between your teeth and gums.
  • Regularly use mouthwash.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Consume a diet rich in vegetables, high-fibre foods and low-sugar fruits.
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes.
  • Regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist are recommended twice a year.

According to science, teeth can reveal a lot about our heart health. Oral health is an integral part of our overall health, and daily mouth care contributes to the overall well-being of our bodies. When considering your health, keep in mind that your oral health is a component of the bigger picture. Because everything is interconnected, taking care of your teeth also means taking care of your heart.