Heart Health and Oral Health Are Connected: Find out How!

Your oral health doesn’t just affect your teeth and mouth. In fact, poor oral health can contribute to a wide variety of other health problems, and it can even contribute to your risk of heart disease.

Don’t believe us? Read on to learn about the scientific basis behind the heart health and oral health connection, and get some tips on how to improve your oral health and your heart health from Skutak Dental. 

Can Gum Disease Really Increase My Risk of Heart Issues?

Yes. In a 2010 systematic review of the available literature on the subject, it was found that poor gum health (such as gingivitis or gum disease) was positively associated with a higher risk of heart disease such as acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and angina pectoris, a type of chest pain related to reduced blood flow in the heart.

How? The current hypothesis has to do with inflammation and a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of plaque in the walls of major arteries. The arteries become narrow and harden. If blood flow stops entirely, a heart attack or a stroke may occur.

It’s thought that gum disease may contribute to a higher risk of atherosclerosis. If you have gum disease, this means that your gums are infected by a lot of bacteria. Over time, these bacteria could migrate from the capillaries in your gums and into your body, causing an inflammatory response as your body’s immune system fights back against this infection.

Together with plaque buildup, this inflammation is thought to lead to atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. 

How Can I Fight Back Against Gum Disease & Heart Disease?

Worried that gum disease might increase your risk of heart disease? There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of both of these health issues.

  • Care for your mouth properly – Brush twice a day for two minutes, and floss once a day. You can also rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to kill the bacteria that cause gum disease.

  • Eat well & exercise – A diet high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy foods will help improve your overall health. This balanced diet will reduce the amount of sugar available for the bacteria that cause gum disease. Exercising is good for your overall health, and can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 30%.

  • Stop smoking – Smoking is correlated with a higher risk of both gum disease and heart disease. Do not smoke or use any tobacco products.

  • Control diabetes properly– Uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels in your heart and the rest of your body, and lead to a higher risk of gum disease.

  • Get routine oral exams – Coming in for oral exams and cleanings every six months reduces your risk of gum disease and ensures that your mouth is free of any major issues.

Worried About Gum Disease? Come to Skutak Dental Right Away! 

At Skutak Dental, Dr. Lisa M. Skutak can treat gum disease in Rothschild, Wausau, and Schofield. As an expert in periodontal care, Dr. Skutak can clean your mouth, eliminate the bacteria that cause gum disease, and keep your gums and teeth healthy. To schedule your appointment, just give us a call at (715) 355-4433, or stop by our office at 700 Eagle Nest Boulevard, Suite E, Rothschild, WI 54474.

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