Many areas of bodily health connect to one another in specific ways, and a great example here is oral health. Taking great care of your teeth and mouth doesn’t just show benefits in this area – it may also have several other specific positives associated with it, including one major overall health area: Heart health.
At Digrazia Dentistry, we’re proud to offer numerous general dentistry services to keep your oral health in a great place throughout your life, from fluoride treatments to tooth implants, cosmetic dentistry and numerous additional areas. How are oral health and heart health connected, and what can you do to ensure one doesn’t lead to risks in the other? Here are some basics to keep in mind.
It’s important to understand the data surrounding oral health and heart health and the terminology used. Technically speaking, per the Mayo Clinic, it has not been proven that good oral care directly leads to improved heart health – that is, just because you brush your teeth and see the dentist regularly does not mean you’re automatically at lower risk for heart disease.
That said, there is significant evidence that risks of developing heart disease are higher in those with poor oral health. Some of this evidence includes:
- Periodontitis (gum disease) has shown an association with increased risk of heart disease.
- Tooth loss patterns have been connected to coronary artery disease.
- Bad oral health increases your risk of bacterial infection in the blood, which in turn impacts heart valves (especially in those with an artificial heart).
- Those with diabetes often benefit from strong periodontal treatment, and there is a major connection between diabetes and heart disease.
Those at Risk
While everyone is technically at risk of conditions like these, those in the highest risk groups are anyone who has undergone gingivitis or another form of advanced periodontal disease. Especially if these conditions are not addressed quickly, they often lead to bacteria in the bloodstream that impacts various heart valves and other areas. These bacteria may even inflame blood vessels, which increases risk of a severe event like a heart attack or stroke.
Luckily, proper oral hygiene and health methods will keep these risks very low. This refers to not only brushing and flossing using recommended methods every day, but also keeping a regular dental schedule with your family dentist for areas like cleanings, checkups and management of any dental issues that arise, particularly those related to infection or bacteria in any way.