Did you know there is a connection between your oral and heart health? It’s true! Dental health is often overlooked in terms of overall health, but recent studies have shown a strong connection between oral health and heart health that is important to be aware of. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. So, be sure to take care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing regularly, your heart will thank you.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart Disease is a term related to many conditions that affect your heart. These can include coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease, infection, and heart muscle disease. Symptoms associated with these diseases include chest pain, tightness, pressure, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling, and fatigue. Heart disease is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as it is identified to avoid even more serious complications.
How is Heart Disease Connected to Your Oral Health?
Studies conducted by Harvard Medical School show a connection between poor oral health and higher rates of cardiovascular problems. This connection is mainly related to bacteria found in your mouth and body. When bacteria infect your gums, it generally causes oral issues such as gingivitis and periodontitis. This same bacteria can also travel to blood vessels in various areas of the body. This can cause inflammation and damage, which can result in blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. It is your body’s immune response of inflammation due to the bacteria that causes the damage throughout the body. The likelihood of suffering a form of heart disease due to oral health problems increases immensely if there is a third contributing factor such as smoking.
Correlation Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Causation
When it comes to your oral health and heart health, it is best to view it as an association, rather than causation. Based on research, there is an undeniable connection between the state of your oral health and your heart. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that poor oral health will automatically mean you will suffer from heart disease. However, bad oral health can increase your risk of heart disease, especially if there are other factors in your overall health that can cause it as well.
Being healthy takes many different factors all working together in harmony. Your teeth and oral health are just one piece of the puzzle that is the human body. Heart disease is a topic of much importance, and while correlation does not indicate causation, there are many risk factors for developing heart disease. Keeping up with your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting the dentist for cleanings and check-ups, can help to decrease some of these risks.