The Link Between Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease

The Link Between Oral Hygiene and Heart DiseaseNeglecting our oral health doesn’t just make for unsightly teeth and uncomfortable trips to the dentist; it can also have measurable negative effects on other aspects of our health as well. In the past decade, a number of studies have concluded that poor oral health can actually increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. How does this happen?

In essence, our mouths are perfect little petri dishes for bacteria colony growth. Some of those bacteria are good, but when we don’t care for our teeth adequately, harmful bacteria can thrive and cause oral infections. Once our mouths become infected, all that bacteria is able to travel through our bloodstreams and eventually find its way to the heart. This foreign bacteria increases cholesterol and causes inflammation in the heart and arteries.

Over time, elevated cholesterol levels and inflammation can greatly increase our risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. According to Dr. Thomas Van Dyke of the Forsyth Institute, “The majority of diseases and conditions of aging, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, have a major inflammatory component that can be made worse by the presence of periodontitis. Periodontitis is not just a dental disease, and it should not be ignored, as it is a modifiable risk factor.”

You might have quit smoking back in your twenties and adhered to a healthy diet for most of your lifetime, but if you haven’t been taking care of your teeth you may still be running an increased risk of contracting cardiovascular disease in the future.

At Modern Family Dental Care, we treat good oral hygiene as an integral component of our patients’ overall health and well-being. Want to learn more about all the services and procedures available to preserve your oral health? Contact our Charlotte or Concord dental offices today for more information.