Can Healthy Teeth Mean a Healthy Heart?
Ever think about your heart health while brushing your teeth? Most people don’t. But your oral health is more important than you may realize because it can offer clues about your overall health. Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body and, in particular, people with gum disease are often more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums.
Your mouth, like many areas of the body, is teeming with bacteria — many of which are harmless. The body’s natural defenses and good oral health care can keep these bacteria under control. However, poor oral hygiene can cause bacteria to reach levels that may lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Gum disease itself is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and that there is a link between clogged arteries and gum disease. Studies have found that bacteria in the mouth, and the inflammation associated with gum disease, play a role in a variety of diseases — including cardiovascular disease. In addition, research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke may be linked to the inflammation and infections caused by bacteria in the mouth.
Although the evidence is not definitive whether preventing gum disease prevents heart disease or that treating gum disease can lessen the buildup of plaque in the arteries, it is nonetheless very important to practice and maintain good oral hygiene.
Try these daily tips for maintaining good oral health:
- Brush your teeth, twice a day
- Floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are worn or frayed
- Schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks
Caring for your heart may begin with caring for your smile. Giving attention to oral hygiene may not only give you a bright smile, but it may just keep your heart healthy too! Norwalk Hospital’s Dental Services can help you with your dental needs. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please click here.