Maryland Periodontics and Dental Implants
7902 Old Branch Ave., Suite 209
Clinton, MD 20735
(301) 856-1200


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Is heart disease caused by bad oral health?

Can You Have One Without The Other?

Gum disease factors

Health experts recognize a link between heart disease & gum disease. That doesn’t mean there’s a direct cause & effect they’re able to pinpoint. So, health experts have developed a few theories why gum disease is associated to other chronic health problems.

One theory is based on the fact gum disease causes chronic inflammation in the mouth. Chronic inflammation in the body can increase the presence of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream. This may cause blood vessels near the heart to narrow & raise your heart disease risk.

A second theory suggests bacteria that causes gum disease, also, causes damage to the heart & blood vessels. For example, bacteria starts in the mouth, enters the bloodstream & travels elsewhere in the body, like the heart.

Healthy mouth = Healthy heart

The challenges linking oral health & heart disease

It’s challenging for researchers to pinpoint the exact link because people with poor oral health & gum disease, also, are more likely to have other systemic diseases that affect the heart.

Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure & obesity affect heart health. Also, poor habits like smoking, eating unhealthy foods & not seeking preventive health care can put you at a higher risk for various health problems.

Conversely, many people with a healthy heart often have healthy lifestyle & habits.

9 tips for better oral health (And heart health)

Although, research doesn’t show an exact cause related to the gums & the heart, it does make sense for your overall health to work towards better oral health.

Here are 9 tips to help you maintain healthy teeth & gums to potentially reduce the risk for heart problems.

  1. See your dentist if you notice bad breath, bleeding gums, loose teeth or receding gums.
  2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, two minutes at a time & use a soft-bristle brush.
  3. Floss at least twice a day, especially, before you go to bed.
  4. Find a periodontist you like.
  5. Schedule dental checkups twice a year.
  6. Schedule regular visits with your primary care provider.
  7. Don’t smoke.
  8. Eat healthy.
  9. Manage stress.
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