What is the relationship between a healthy smile and a healthy heart? More than you might think.
Oral hygiene is very important to our overall health. Bacteria abound in our mouths, many of which are beneficial or, at the very least, harmless. If you allow harmful bacteria to colonize your mouth, they will have both direct access to your respiratory and digestive systems.
We are more concerned about our health and aware of the dangers of microbacteria than ever before in the COVID-19 era. While handwashing is important, brushing your teeth and gum health are equally important for maintaining your body’s health.
Dental Health Dangers
Oral infections can occur if unhealthy bacteria are allowed to live and multiply in your mouth. This causes inflammation, discomfort, bad breath, and other unpleasant symptoms in your teeth and gums.
Aside from having serious consequences for your smile, bad mouth infections can put other parts of your body at risk. Indeed, studies suggest that the oral bacteria found in periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, may be involved in diseases that affect other parts of the body.
This relationship is reciprocal—the health of your body affects the health of your mouth, and vice versa. Diabetes and HIV/AIDS can impair your body’s ability to fight infection, increasing your chances of developing a gum infection. Maintaining good gum health, on the other hand, can help diabetics better control their blood sugar levels.
Dental and cardiovascular health
Just as there are conditions that affect your gums and teeth, your oral health can increase or decrease your risk of developing other conditions. While no definitive link has been established, research has linked poor dental health to poor cardiovascular health.
Here are some links between dental and cardiovascular health:
- Periodontitis and other gum diseases can raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and infect your heart’s inner lining and valves, resulting in endocarditis.
- Bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation or infection in the cardiovascular system, which can lead to clogged arteries and strokes.
- Diabetes can have a bad impact on your cardiovascular health, so maintaining good dental health is essential.
A recent study linked tooth-brushing habits to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Individuals who brush their teeth less than twice a day are three times more likely to develop heart disease.
Gum disease Inflammation can be a sign of inflammation in other parts of the body, most notably the heart valves. While these studies have not found a clear cause-and-effect relationship between oral health and heart health, a healthy smile may be the key to a healthy heart!
As a result, keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help keep your circulatory system running smoothly.
Dental health red flags
Knowing the symptoms of gum disease is essential for monitoring your oral health. This is due to the fact that undiagnosed gum infections can increase the risk of your heart’s health.
The following symptoms may indicate that you should see your dentist to address a problem with your gum health:
- Gums that are sore, inflamed, or discolored
- The appearance of pus or bleeding from your gums
- Receding gums, or gums that appear to be pulling away from your teeth, are a sign of periodontitis.
- Teeth that are loose
- Bad breath occurs frequently.
Any of these symptoms could indicate a gum infection, such as periodontitis. If you have any of these symptoms that showed, you should see your dentist right away.
How can you maintain good dental health to best protect your heart? Experts recommend the following steps to keep your smile looking great:
Brush your teeth two to four times a day for at least two minutes. Dentists recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. Brushing too hard can hurt and damage your gums and remove the enamel from your teeth.
- Floss frequently.
- Use mouthwash after flossing or brushing to rinse away food particles and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Replace your toothbrush every two to three months, if not more frequently.
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist.
- Smoking should be avoided.