Oral Health and Your Heart – An Interesting Connection

Oral health and your heart

Your dentist wants you to keep your teeth healthy, and it not just because it is their intention to help you maintain your great smile. Just like your family practice provider here at Williams Integracare, your dentist is also looking out for your overall health!

Studies continue to show that patients with poor oral health are at greater risk of cardiovascular issues, like a heart attack or stroke.

Why are oral health and cardiovascular disease connected?

In 2018 Harvard shared a number of theories on this connection. To summarize:

  • The same bacteria that causes gingivitis can also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body, causing tiny blood clots to form.
  • Your body’s immune response to this bacteria could be inflammation – causing vascular damage throughout the rest of the body.
  • An outside factor could be at play (see the next section)

A study by the European Society of Cardiology, also completed in 2018, found a moderate correlation between patients who were missing teeth, and those that suffered from a cardiovascular issue (like a heart attack).

Interestingly, of those studied, the majority who were missing a tooth were also smokers. This brings to question if the correlation that was discovered was between missing teeth and cardiovascular disease, or really between smoking and cardiovascular disease.

Could there be another reason for this connection?

Someone who has poor oral health could be due in part to a poor diet. It’s easy to connect the dots to theorize that a poor diet would increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The same theory could be said for individuals who smoke cigarettes.

The bottom line: there is a connection between maintaining great oral health and staying heart-healthy. But you could also say the inverse of this: if you eat food that is heart-healthy, you will in turn likely have good oral health.

The bottom line

Brush and floss your teeth every day. Eat heart-healthy every day. Not just because it’s better for your waistline, but because it’s probably pretty good for your teeth too!