You brush your teeth every day, floss and see the dentist regularly to keep your teeth healthy. Could proper dental hygiene keep your heart healthy too?
What are scientists thinking?
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are almost
twice as likely to also have heart disease. Studies found common dental problems, such as cavities and tooth decay, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels. In addition, the natural bodily response to infection is swelling. As such, these bacteria could trigger inflammation throughout the body, potentially narrowing arteries and increasing the risk for clots.
Does a dirty mouth mean a bad heart?
Experts agree there is some connection between periodontal disease and heart disease, but more investigation is needed. Initial studies suggest periodontal disease may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular problems. Heart disease has few symptoms and is difficult to
detect early. However, if you notice your gums are bleeding or feel painful, think of it as a potential reminder to see your health care provider for a cholesterol check.
Fighting off heart disease is a multifaceted process. Your toothbrush and floss may be the beginning of protecting your heart. To further defend your heart, maintain a healthy weight, eat nutritiously, exercise and properly manage cholesterol, blood pressure and/or diabetes.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville.