Link Between Oral Health & Heart Health

heart shaped figure

It is said that there is a big relationship between heart health and oral health. Research has shown that people with who have had a lot of dental problems end up having some type of heart condition later in life. So, what is the connection between your teeth and gums and your heart?

The bloodstream is what connects your oral health to your cardiovascular health. Blood passes on all the nutrients and bacteria from the mouth to the rest of your body areas. Inflammation producing bacteria causes weaker sections of the heart to get inflamed, causing heart conditions and diseases. Blood, when inflamed, has the tendency to clot, resulting into strokes. Atherosclerosis is clogging of arteries that can be a result of intrusive oral microorganisms that travel to the other parts of the circulatory system. Clogged arteries can cause heart strokes or attacks also called myocardial infarction. Any type of oral infection, either in the teeth or gums, can also lead to endocarditis, which is an infection in the inner lining of the heart muscle, valves or lining. A leading cause of endocarditis is bad oral health. Endocarditis can progress into other heart conditions involving heart rhythm and valves.

I have bad gums, am I at risk for heart disease?

If you have always had bad gums, along with periodontal disease, gingivitis that has not been successfully treated, you may be at risk for heart disease. This is because the bacteria has been traveling into your bloodstream since quite some time. If a blood test is performed that shows elevated levels of the C-Reactive protein, it means that there is a high level of inflammation. Cardiologists typically orders this test to check for arterial inflammation or heart disease.

It is important to give attention and care for your teeth and gums even if you have just started to see trouble. If you notice that you’ve always had dental and gum issues, then it is best to start a good, lengthy treatment plan with your dentist immediately and also keep up with your routine health checkup.

Gum disease can present itself with the following symptoms:

  • Swollen and painful reddish gums. This is usually an infection and the pain can radiate to your neck, head and even shoulders if not treated immediately.
  • Sensitive gums that bleed regularly during brushing, flossing and after eating certain foods.
  • Loose and weak teeth that seem like they are going to break or fall out.
  • Unpleasant or bad breath and taste for the most time.
  • Pus like oral infections that may get treated temporarily but come back.

It can be risky to ignore dental conditions and gum problems even if they’re in their beginning phases. Oral infections and gum disease can be easily prevented by getting regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing everyday and maintaining a healthy diet. Getting checked early on for oral infections and treating them is very important to protect yourself from cardiovascular conditions. Don’t keep waiting and call us now if you or a loved one sees initial symptoms of dental problems!

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