Oral health and your heart

Good Dental Hygiene Important for Heart Health

Here is yet another reason to brush at least twice and floss at least once every day: Researchers report that periodontal (gum) disease caused by poor oral hygiene can not only result in pain and tooth loss, but it also can lead to heart disease and stroke.

People with gum disease have nearly double the risk for heart disease as those with healthy gums, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Gum infection also is more prevalent in people who suffer a certain type of stroke.

Researchers don’t yet know exactly how gum disease affects heart health. Bacteria from infected gums may enter the blood and attach to fatty plaque in the heart’s blood vessels. Or the inflammation from gum disease may increase plaque buildup.

In heart disease, fatty proteins build up and thicken the walls of the arteries and can lead to restricted blood flow. This may then lead to a heart attack or stroke.

“Gum Disease and Heart Disease.” American Academy of Periodontology. http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart_disease Accessed 2013.

“Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body.” American Dental Association, April 2006. www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_61.pdf Accessed 2013.

Additional articles on oral health and your heart