The human body is a complex machine, and sometimes one problem in one area can have unexpected consequences in another. For example, did you know that there is a connection between dental health and heart health? A statement by the American Heart Association (AHA) published in 2012 showed a direct link between oral health and a healthy heart. So, how is oral health connected to the heart? Well, keep reading to find out.
The Connection between Oral Health and Heart Health
Research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than those without it. While the exact reason for this connection is still unknown, it is believed that the bacteria that cause gum disease can also contribute to the development of heart disease. When these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can attach to the walls of the arteries and cause inflammation, which can lead to the formation of blood clots and increase the risk of heart attack.
One of the most serious complications of gum disease is endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart's inner lining or valves. When bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas of the heart, it can cause inflammation and infection. People with heart valve disease are particularly at risk when gum disease is present, as the bacteria can attach to the damaged valves and cause further damage.
The symptoms of endocarditis include:cough, fever, shortness of breath,irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fatigue and muscle and joint pain.
How Can I Protect Myself from Endocarditis and Other Heart Conditions?
Although life-threatening, endocarditis is preventable with proper oral hygiene and preventive care. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Brush your teeth twice a day to remove plaque and bacteria.
- Floss daily to reach those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth.
- Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and treatments.
Also, avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes, as they can dry out the gums and lead to infection. And be sure to visit your doctor immediately if you notice any of the above endocarditis symptoms. Doing so might just save your life.
Proper Oral Health Equals Proper Heart Health
Maintaining good oral health is important for overall well-being, but it’s also vital for protecting your heart from serious diseases and conditions. Be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist regularly. Following these steps will keep your smile bright and your heart healthy.
We Are Committed to Helping You Maintain Excellent Oral Health and Prevent Heart Complications
Contact Tuttle Family Dentistry to preserve your oral health and keep heart complications at bay. Our experienced team of dentists is here to help you every step of the way. Schedule an appointment today for a brighter smile and a healthier heart! We offer a wide range of dental services including dental implants, teeth whitening, veneers, etc. We also offer pediatric dentistry and emergency dentistry services. Contact us today!