You may think you’re on track to keep your ticker in top shape. You exercise, eat right, and you’re following your doctor’s advice. But if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you could be in for a wake up call. Seems the state of your gums directly affect your heart health.
Fact #1) The association between gum disease and heart disease has been known for some time. In fact, people with moderate to advanced gum disease are 25 to 50 percent more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums according to a study in The Journal of Immunology Research.
How exactly do gums connect to your heart? Research suggests that inflammation and bacteria found in the mouth are linked to the heart causing heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke.
Fact #2) Periodontal (gum) disease is the most common infection in the human body and affects in various forms more than 90 percent of the population,” says Saloman Amar, D.D.S., PhD, professor of dentistry at Touro College of Dental Medicine. “When left untreated this infection progresses and leads to tooth mobility and ultimately tooth loss.”
It’s that bacteria that, in advanced cases, harbors invasive microorganisms that can mobilize and migrate into the circulatory system, and eventually lead to heart problems.
The process can cause atherosclerosis (a plaque buildup inside your arteries) says Amar. “Maintaining healthy teeth and a healthy mouth could participate in the prevention of atherosclerosis.”
Fact #3) Brian B. Nový, D.D.S., director of practice improvement at DentaQuest Institute, the largest dental benefits administrator in the U.S., says “Regularly brushing and flossing combined with bi-annual dental appointments are important steps to remove the bacteria, plaque and tartar that are detrimental to your oral – and heart – health.” He also states that prevention is necessary when combating bacteria that lead to the inflammation associated with gum and heart disease.
What’s more, seeing your dentist regularly ensures they have the opportunity to identify any warning signs for heart disease at your regular checkups.
In between regular dental cleanings and checkups, maintain your oral health with twice daily brushing, and flossing once per day to not only keep your smile healthy but to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Brushing and flossing is a simple step to take to protect your heart.