The Link Between Dental Health and Heart Disease
February is American Heart Month! As many of you already know, your oral health plays a key role in your overall wellness, including your heart health. Our team at Prescott Dentistry wants to keep you and your heart as healthy as possible. And in honor of American Heart Month, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about the link between dental health and heart disease.
Dental Health and Heart Disease
What does heart health have to do with dentistry? A lot, actually. Gum disease (periodontitis) is associated with an increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Scientific research hasn’t concluded exactly why this link exists, but it does show a direct correlation. Scientists believe that inflammation associated with gum disease may be responsible for the connection.
Bacteria from your mouth can spread to other parts of your body, including your heart. These bacteria attach to damaged areas of the heart, causing inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and strokes have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association. The bacteria can also migrate into your bloodstream causing elevated C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Am I at Risk?
Patients with chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease caused by poor oral health. This is especially true if it remains undiagnosed and untreated. Even if you don’t have noticeable gum inflammation, a buildup of plaque caused by poor oral hygiene increases the risk of gum disease.
How can I Protect my Heart?
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss daily
- Maintain your regular checkups with Prescott Dentistry
- Avoid tobacco use
Give us a Call
The good news is, you can reduce the chance of developing dental decay, gum inflammation and oral infections by simply taking good care of your teeth and gums. When it comes to dental health and heart disease, prevention is the best medicine. At Prescott Dentistry, not only do we want you to have a beautiful smile, we also want you to live a long and healthy life! So let us help take care of you. Schedule your next exam and cleaning with our office today.