Oral Health and my Heart

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heart in mouth
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The Link between Oral Health and Cardiovascular Disease

There is a growing body of research suggesting a link between oral health, specifically mouth cavities (also known as dental caries or tooth decay), and cardiovascular disease.

Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the mouth

One theory suggests that the harmful bacteria involved in tooth decay and gum disease can enter the bloodstream through the mouth and spread to other parts of the body, including the arteries. These bacteria may trigger inflammation and immune responses, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Chronic Inflammation of the Gums
Additionally, chronic inflammation associated with gum disease may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and swelling. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and other serious health complications. Inflammation in the gums can release inflammatory markers into the bloodstream, which can promote the formation of blood clots, damage blood vessels, and contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis.

Poor hygiene increases the risk
Poor oral health habits, such as inadequate brushing and flossing, can lead to an increased risk of both tooth decay and cardiovascular disease. Factors common to both conditions, such as a high-sugar diet and tobacco use, may also play a role in the development of both oral health issues and cardiovascular problems.

e-cigarettes (photo courtesy of Reason)

Prevention is the Key
Research on the direct causal relationship between mouth cavities and cardiovascular disease is ongoing. Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care are important for overall health. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year. These actions can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which may indirectly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It’s not Just Heart Disease

That’s not all.   The connections between oral health and overall health are not just heart disease. Visit tclevelanddds.com for a deeper look at preventing heart disease.

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