Clean Teeth = Healthy Heart
A bright, shining smile can give you confidence in your appearance and let you laugh with no reserves. But poor oral health can affect more than your smile! Many studies have found that dental health is indeed a gateway to your overall health, especially in the matters of the heart.
Oral health issues like cavities and untreated tooth decay can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes your gums to recede from your teeth, which creates a gap beneath the gum line where bacteria can hide and grow. From this gap, bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart’s arteries. If the bacteria in your heart’s arteries harden, it can cause a condition called Atherosclerosis. This causes plaque to grow on the inner walls of your heart’s arteries, which can restrict blood flow throughout the body. Restricted blood flow to and from your heart is the catalyst for heart disease.
What about sensitive teeth and gums? Surely that can't be a problem can it?
Unfortunately it can. Infected gums can be red, sensitive, and may bleed during brushing, flossing, or during a dental cleaning. This type of bleeding could trigger a rare but serious heart condition called Endocarditis. Endocarditis develops when bacteria from infected gums spreads to the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial growths in your heart’s inner lining can prevent your heart’s valves from working properly. When your valves aren’t working efficiently, you’re at a heightened risk of heart attack. In a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it was found that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene can indeed lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
An effective at-home oral health regimen is the best way to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Brushing twice a day for two minutes a day and supplementing with an antibacterial oral rinse are great preventions for good oral hygiene. Be sure to visit your dentist at least once a year for your annual cleaning in order to help you ward off gum inflammation and tooth decay.