Oral health is important in and of itself, but what many people don’t realize is that oral health and cardiovascular health are intimately linked. Having a clean healthy mouth is high on most people’s overall bodily health list, but knowing how the heart and the mouth are linked should spur you to consider taking even better care of your oral health. Below are some important considerations when evaluating what your oral health status means for your heart.
- A review of peer-evaluated published studies reveals that gum disease, by itself, is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Bacteria found in the mouth, especially plaque and tartar build up around the gums, has been linked by numerous scientific and academic publications to increased risk of developing heart disease.
- Analysis of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) found that gum disease is a determining risk factor for many diseases of the blood vessels and the arteries which supply the brain, especially strokes and lack of oxygen to the brain. Data from an independent study of more than 50,000 people found that those people with fewer teeth and higher rates of gum disease were at an increased risk of stroke.
- The bacteria found in many common forms of gum diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis are also found in vessels that are going through atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that’s characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on the inner walls of the arteries.
- Studies have also shown that oral diseases are a good predictor, or indicator of warning signs for other diseases and conditions, including heart disease.
- People with chronic gum disease have been shown to be at higher risk for heart attack and coronary embolisms.
Taking good care of your gums, teeth and tongue is important not just for the basic functionality and preservation of your mouth, but doing so can help prevent many of the most common cardiovascular diseases, some of which can become deadly if not properly managed. Increased blood pressure, fatigue even eventual heart attack are all possibilities if your mouth is not healthy.
Everyone, but especially people who are genetically predisposed to heart disease should consider the risk they run when not properly maintaining their oral health. Keep in mind the above connections between poor oral health and poor cardiovascular health and ensure that you are doing everything possible to keep your body’s most important muscle healthy.