Good daily oral care which includes brushing and flossing not only improves your breath and reduces plaque but it can also help keep your heart healthy. Recent scientific research shows a real connection between your heart health and oral health.
Over 2,400 people die from cardiovascular disease each day, making it a huge public health problem. Cardiovascular disease occurs when arteries become harder, making it more difficult for blood to easily pass through your circulatory system. Plaques also build up in your blood vessels, further restricting blood flow. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects nearly 75% of the U.S. population, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause bone and gum tissue to deteriorate, causing bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and loose teeth.
If periodontal disease affects your teeth and cardiovascular disease affects your heart, what’s the connection between the two? The two conditions share several risk factors: older age, smoking, type 2 diabetes however these risk factors do not explain the casual mechanism connecting the two conditions. One possible explanation is inflammation. Moderate to severe periodontal disease triggers chronic systemic inflammation, affecting not only your mouth but also your circulatory system, leading to cardiovascular disease. Another hypothesis is that bacteria from your mouth can cause heart disease. People with periodontal disease have billions of bacteria and other microorganisms teeming in their mouths. Chewing food and brushing your teeth release these bacteria into the bloodstream.
Not all scientific findings have shown a relationship between the two conditions and more scientific research needs to be performed to determine the exact relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease can be very harmful to your health even if it does not lead to cardiovascular disease. It is important to reduce your risk of gum disease by careful tooth brushing, frequent flossing, and regular trips to the dentist.