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Oral Health & Your Heart

Healthy Hygiene, Healthy Heart

Believe it or not, how you take care of your teeth and gums affects not only your oral health, but it impacts your cardiovascular health, too. Although scientists are not certain of the precise relationship between the heart and oral hygiene, studies consistently demonstrate a link, especially between gum disease and heart disease.

If you want to help care for your heart by caring for your teeth and gums, please call (614) 848-5001 or email the Columbus Center for Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.

Does Gum Disease Cause Heart Disease?

We don’t know the precise nature of the link between gum disease and heart disease. We do know that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer heart problems. We also know that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can be found in the arterial plaque that contributes to heart disease. And we know that treating gum disease can reduce heart attack risk and lower the cost of treating heart disease.

It’s possible that a mouth filled with bacteria and their toxins allows a continuous stream of poisons to enter the system. If the bacteria reach your arteries, they may cause the same kind of irritation they caused in your gums and mouth. Arterial wall irritations typically result in a buildup of protective plaque, which in turn can harden, thus blocking blood flow. Without sufficient blood flow, your heart can easily have a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. Furthermore, loosened arterial plaque can travel through the bloodstream, reach your brain, and cause a stroke.

Prevention & Detection

One way we can fight this situation is to use a special bacterial neutralizing rinse immediately after dental procedures to reduce the possibility of bacteria entering your bloodstream. However, healthy mouth and gums are your best defense, so keep a regimen of daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits twice a year. Remember, gum disease and oral cancer are silent but serious problems that may go unnoticed without professional exams.

Snoring and Heart Disease

Another potential problem that may be contributing to your heart risk is snoring and sleep apnea. The vibrations from snoring can damage arteries, leading to scarring and hardening known as atherosclerosis. Sleep apnea, episodes of stopped breath at night, can cause your heart to beat harder and faster at night. It has been associated with elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

We can treat snoring in most people and sleep apnea in some people, depending on the exact cause.

If you are concerned about the impact your oral health may be having on your heart, please contact the Columbus Center for Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today.