Oral Hygiene and Heart disease

February 7, 2019

 

As dental providers of course we are focused on your oral hygiene, but we also care about your overall health. All too often we see patients who take great care of their bodies, but still have poor oral hygiene, why is this? Most individuals treat their mouths as a separate entity from the rest of their body, not realizing that there is a strong link to many other health issues. This blog will focus on oral hygiene and its correlation to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. It’s estimated that 1 in every 4 deaths is due to heart disease. Periodontal disease affects nearly 50% of individuals with over 70% prevalence in adults age 65 and older. How are these two very prevalent conditions linked you ask?

Although there are no studies proving that poor oral hygiene causes heart disease, there are studies showing the link between the two. One of the common topics discussed is that of bacteria.We can have anywhere between 100-200 or more different strains of bacteria at any given time. This equates to millions or billions of bacteria living in your oral cavity. Not all bacteria are bad, but some are disease causing. It is these  harmful bacteria that have been found in blood vessels causing inflammation,just as we see in our gums due to periodontal disease.

Heart Disease is linked to Periodontal Disease

Our hearts are affected by many bacteria.

These bacteria are harmful to the heart and blood vessels, but also trigger a natural inflammatory response within the body causing more damage. When you suffer from gingivitis or periodontal disease, your body reacts with the same inflammatory response. This isn’t only in the mouth, but throughout the entire body.The inflammatory response is a nonspecific reaction to pathogens, damaged cells and/or toxins that takes place throughout your entire body (you can learn more about the damage it causes here). It is this reaction to oral pathogens that “sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain.” (Harvard).

Another correlation between poor oral hygiene and heart disease is smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for both diseases and may present the link between the two. A 2018 study, analyzed data from a million people who had different cardiovascular events and found that:

  1. Accounting for age, a moderate correlation was found between tooth loss and coronary heart disease (the most common type of heart disease).
  2. After accounting for smoking the correlation largely disappeared.

 

Many studies hypothesis that smoking may be the link between heart disease and poor oral hygiene, but there is still no conclusive evidence.

Heart disease can be caught early with yearly wellness checks!

Keep you heart strong! Make to maintain your yearly wellness checks!

Now whether the correlations are direct or coincidental it’s obvious that these 2 common diseases are linked in some way. Taking the necessary steps to improve your oral hygiene is the best prevention and we are here to help! Whether you need help quitting tobacco or a discussion on interdental aids, we will customize a treatment plan to your unique needs.It’s important for us to stay up to date with the newest research, we will be sure to share our insight with you as more studies come out on this topic. As always our #1 goal is to help you achieve the healthiest mouth possible, and we thank you for trusting us on your journey to improved oral health!

 

References:

Colgate:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/heart-disease/how-oral-health-and-heart-disease-are-connected-0115

Mayo Clinic:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986

Harvard:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/gum-disease-and-the-connection-to-heart-disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5805548/

 


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