A growing body of research indicates that oral care plays a key role in heart health. The billions of bacteria living in your mouth can affect cardiovascular function, putting you at risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, gum disease is a major risk factor for cardiovascular problems. Taking care of your teeth can dramatically lower the risk of chronic illnesses.
Can Bad Teeth Lead to Heart Disease?
Studies have linked poor oral health to diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Gum disease, which is caused by dental plaque, leads to bacteria overgrowth. These harmful microorganisms can enter your bloodstream and affect cardiovascular health. People with bad teeth are more likely to develop heart attacks, stroke, and circulatory disorders.
Although it’s not clear how gum disease affects heart health, research indicates a strong connection between the two. Scientists believe that gum disease causes inflammation, which in turn, increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Inflammation is a risk factor for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
According to experts, the spread of bacteria from your mouth to other tissues and organs, such as the heart, affects overall health. It can lead to a myriad of problems, from stroke to clogged arteries and endocarditis. The bacteria may also increase C-reactive protein levels, causing inflammation in your blood vessels.
Keep Your Heart Healthy with Better Oral Care
Good oral hygiene could be the key to a healthy heart. Simple lifestyle changes, such as brushing and flossing your teeth more often, can help prevent gum disease and lower your risk of chronic ailments. Also, make sure you know the signs of periodontal disease so you can treat it in early stages. These include:
- Red, swollen, bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Signs of infection or pus around the teeth and gums
- Painful chewing
In case you have gum disease, your doctor will remove the plaque and tartar. This procedure takes just a few minutes and causes minimal discomfort. You might also need to use a prescription mouthrinse and take medications to get rid of bacteria. Treatment depends on the progression of the disease. The best thing you can do is prevent it in the first place by taking good care of your teeth.