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Can Poor Oral Health Cause Heart Problems?

Illustration for heart and oral health

The health of your teeth and gums directly links to your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of issues such as cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and even heart problems. In this blog post, ProHEALTH Dental will discuss how poor oral health can contribute to heart problems and what steps to take to prevent them from happening.

The Link Between Oral Health and Heart Problems

Oral health and heart disease connect through the bloodstream. Poor oral health causes germs and bacteria from plaque buildup in the mouth and gums. This bacteria will eventually make their way into your bloodstream, which is then carried to your heart. The bacteria can cause severe conditions, such as:

How Plaque and Gum Disease Affect Your Heart

Plaque is made of bacteria that feed on sugars in our diet. As this bacteria accumulates in the mouth, it eventually forms a sticky film on the teeth called biofilm or plaque. This biofilm produces toxins irritating our gums, eventually causing gingivitis and gum disease.

Gum disease, better known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria in plaque breaking down the tissue around our teeth. When left untreated, this condition causes damage to connective tissues around the teeth and allows inflammation to enter the bloodstream. When bacteria from inflammation enter the bloodstream via small cuts in the gums, it creates inflammation throughout the body, leading to blocked arteries and other severe cardiovascular problems.

Research has shown that people with severe gum disease have twice the risk of developing coronary artery disease than those with healthy gums. Furthermore, according to one study published by Harvard Medical School, people with periodontitis are at twice as much risk for stroke than those without gum disease.

How to Prevent Oral Health Problems from Affecting Your Heart

Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to protect your oral health and reduce your risk of developing heart problems later in life, such as:

  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing at least once daily
  • Eating a healthy diet low in sugar
  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Staying hydrated
  • Visiting your dentist twice annually for checkups and cleanings

Additionally, if you already have periodontal disease or other dental issues, such as cavities or tooth decay, you must treat them promptly.

To improve or maintain good oral health, visit a trusted dental professional who can rid your teeth of harmful bacteria, identify potential problems, and provide treatment before the condition becomes severe.

At ProHEALTH Dental, our dental professionals are dedicated to helping you improve and maintain good oral health for years to come. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your appointment. (855) 750-5011

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