Oral Health and Heart Disease: Understanding the Connection

oral health and heart disease

Learn how the connection between dental health and heart health can affect you.

Current research is showing a significant connection between oral health and heart disease. The research reveals that many Americans are living with undiagnosed gum or periodontal disease, which can have a negative effect on heart health. When patients visit their physician, they rarely discuss oral health, which leaves undiagnosed oral health conditions time to fester, become worse and possibly affect heart health. Can bad teeth cause heart problems? The answer is yes, especially if oral health problems are ignored, and not addressed quickly and effectively.

Oral Health and Heart Disease

New research that studied the link between dental health and heart health, discovered two specific connections. The studies revealed that an individual who is living with moderate to advanced gum disease has a greater chance of developing heart disease than someone who does not have oral health problems.

The research also revealed that an individual’s oral health can provide doctors with important information that can assist in the diagnosis of heart problems and other diseases. Oral health and heart disease are connected by bacteria in the mouth, which spreads to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when the bacteria enter the heart, it can attach itself to weakened areas and cause inflammation. This can cause unhealthy conditions in the heart to escalate, resulting in illness, and infection in the interior lining of the heart (endocarditis). The American Heart Association reports that oral bacteria are directly linked to inflammation in the heart, leading to atherosclerosis and stroke.

Can Bad Teeth Cause Heart Problems?

According to research, the answer is yes. The link between oral health and heart disease begins to develop with poor oral health and bacteria build-up. According to the Cleveland Clinic, oral bacteria that travels into the bloodstream can cause C-reactive protein levels to elevate, which can result in a stroke or heart disease. Individuals who are most at risk of having heart disease directly related to poor oral health are those with:

  • poor oral health habits
  • plaque accumulation
  • gum inflammation and infection
  • bleeding gums
  • bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • loose teeth, and teeth that are shifting
  • sore, red or swollen gums
  • infected gums and teeth
  • gums that are receding from the teeth

Dental Health and Heart Health Care

According to a Harvard Medical School report, oral bacteria that travels throughout the body can cause tiny blood clots, heart attack and stroke, and inflammation and damage to blood vessels. Treating these conditions with antibiotics was not shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease. To avoid oral health and heart disease related problems, good oral health must be practiced.

With the mouth being the gateway to the body, it is important that you take care of your teeth and gums. You should visit your dentist to have oral examinations, and also schedule teeth cleanings every 6 months. You should floss once a day, and brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day with a good toothbrush that reaches all areas of the mouth and teeth. Also use a good toothpaste that reduces plaque, and try using a mouthwash that is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Ask your dentist to help you plan a routine that will keep you in perfect oral health. Learn more about maintaining a good oral health routine at www.BetterHealthKare.com

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