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How is Heart Health Connected to Your Mouth?


Posted on 2/17/2022 by Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates
Close up of a heart-shaped object resting between two hands of a doctor in a labcoatThe heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Did you know that your oral health directly affects the health of your heart? More and more studies have been done on this and all have come to the same conclusion- that oral health and heart health are linked.

When proper care is not taken of the teeth and gums, plaque and bacteria build up on the teeth and along the gumline. This has two negative effects.
•  The first is that bacteria can cause inflammation and infections. If this bacteria is near the gums, which are full of blood vessels, the bacteria can also travel into the bloodstream of the body, causing inflammation and infection there.
•  Plaque build-up on teeth also contributes to gum disease, or periodontitis. Periodontitis comes in 4 stages. When the early stages of gum disease go untreated, inflammation of the gums increases and can become chronic. This can increase the inflammation in the rest of our body, and greatly increases the risk of plaque (bacteria) entering the bloodstream.

Some of the bacteria associated with gum disease are the same types associated with strokes. Additionally, poor dental hygiene habits can make blood pressure worse, interfere with medications, and can be a common cause of endocarditis, particularly in heart valve patients.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help protect not just your teeth and gums, but also your bloodstream and heart:
•  Brush your teeth at least twice a day
•  Use a fluoridated toothpaste
•  Floss daily to clean in between teeth and beneath the gum tissue
•  Make sure to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings
•  Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet

Oral health is an essential part of your overall health. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you will also be helping to protect your heart. If you have any concerns, please schedule an appointment today.
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