Most people are familiar with the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but do they realize that proven dental health practices like brushing and flossing every day may keep the doctor away as well. Research has shown that there is a direct link between an individual’s oral health and their overall physical health, and in particular their heart health. Poor oral hygiene can result in dental problems such as tooth decay, halitosis, gum disease, and even tooth loss but it has also been found that it can also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and even strokes.
The correlation between heart health and dental health was actually discovered many years ago but the data supporting this link has been significant in the last few years. So much so that leading cardiologists are promoting awareness and encouraging their patients to take care of their teeth and gums. Maintaining good oral health at home, using proper techniques in brushing and flossing, is important but it is just as important to see your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations since your dentist will be able to detect any hidden issues.
Dental Health and Heart Health Correlation
There is evidence that oral bacteria has been found in other parts of the body and individuals with serious gum disease are two times more likely to develop coronary artery disease. Forty (40%) percent of patients with heart conditions have also been found to have gum disease. The bacteria associated with gingivitis and gum disease can impact the inner layer of the heart resulting in plaque build-up over a number of years. Elderly people are often found to have gum disease but younger individuals are also at risk. If they are not taking good care of their teeth and gums they could be subjecting themselves to developing high blood pressure and heart disease sooner.
Prevention is paramount since excellent dental health and a good diet can help to stave off serious health complications and conditions and lower your risk for heart disease. Brushing and flossing daily and visiting your dentist on a routine basis can truly help to keep your risk low for dental problems as well as other health problems. Following your doctor’s recommendations is a wise decision when it comes to a healthy smile and a healthy heart.
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