Heart Disease and Dental Health

According to the American Heart Association, it’s estimated that 785,000 Americans have a heart attack each year making heart disease the number one cause of death in the United States.

Heart (cardiovascular) disease is caused by the accumulation of cholesterol and inflammatory cells in the vessels that bring blood to heart, brain, legs and the rest of the body. This buildup narrows the arteries making it harder for blood to flow through the body. These blockages can result in heart attack, chest pain or stroke.

Poor oral health combined with other risk factors may contribute to heart disease. Research studies have shown a connection between heart disease and the bacteria found in periodontal (gum) disease. The bacteria can grow out of control and cause oral infections such as tooth decay which in turn cause bacterial toxins to travel through the bloodstream and other parts of the body, damaging the linings of blood vessels and affecting overall health.

Other Risk factors for Heart Disease

Many of the risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Family History of Heart Disease

To Help Prevent Gum Disease:

To protect your oral health, resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Floss daily, or more often if you eat sticky foods or foods that can lodge between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Have regular dental checkups and cleanings  twice a year

Be sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health.

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