With the rise in Heart Disease over the years, everyone pushes eating heart healthy, exercise and other healthy regimens to protect your heart. Recent studies have shown that people with oral health issues, such as gum disease, also have had problems with heart attacks or stroke. Their risk also appears to be higher than those with good oral health. Could there be a direct connection? Experts are still looking into it.
Some scientists believe that the bacteria responsible for some diseases of the gums and mouth could be transferred to the blood stream, weakening blood vessels and heart muscles. Inflamed blood vessels can then travel to the brain, heart or lungs, causing heart attack and stroke. There is some evidence to support these findings, as oral bacteria has been found in ruptured blood vessels. But even this “proof” does not mean that bad oral hygiene has been the cause.
Even if the correlation is not direct, a third factor may be at play. Smoking is a common cause of both gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, smokers with gum and teeth issues may also experience cardiovascular complications. Poor diet and lack of exercise can also be a factor in these issues. The decline of access to adequate health care is also a common factor among these individuals. Any of these outside factors may also be a likely cause of both mouth and heart problems.
Whether or not there is an actual connection between your teeth and your cardiovascular system, regular check-ups and quitting smoking will at the very least help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You can then count those out as factors for your heart health. The body is a whole made up of many parts and the failure of any certain part may negatively effect any other. Take care of yourself!