Did you know that there is a link between dental problems and heart disease? For one, gum disease increases your chances of developing serious heart problems. Also, according to one study, oral health issues can sometimes be a warning sign of heart disease. But how exactly are dental problems and heart disease connected?
Understanding Gum Disease
Your mouth is a fertile ground for bacteria. Brushing your teeth helps remove most of them. But if you don’t do it the right way, they will stay in your mouth and cause gum inflammation. This could then result in gum disease or periodontitis.
When this condition occurs, your gums will withdraw. In doing so, they will create small pockets around your teeth. Oral bacteria will fill these pockets and go on to multiply. From here, the bacteria enter your bloodstream and could affect different vital organs.
Dental Problems and Heart Disease
Atherosclerosis is one of the most common side effects of untreated gum disease. When the bacteria enter your bloodstream, they travel through the blood vessels that lead to your heart. As they move, they create plaques on the walls of these vessels. These plaques reduce the blood flow and may even prevent the blood from reaching some parts of the body. If this goes on for some time, it will result in heart disease.
But the situation may be even more severe. For example, due to poor oral hygiene, sometimes your gums will start bleeding. This opens the door for mouth bacteria to enter your bloodstream. In some rare cases, the bacteria will go straight to your heart and multiply there. This could trigger endocarditis and make the heart unable to work properly. As a result of this condition, you’ll be more at risk of suffering from heart attack.
What You Can Do
Dental problems and heart disease often go together. Yet you can avoid them altogether with proper oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and use dental floss and mouthwash afterwards. As soon as you notice a cavity or other dental problems, go to your dentist. Make sure to go for regular checkups at least twice a year. After all, by taking care of your teeth, you’re also taking care of your heart.