Heart Disease, Stroke & Your Oral Health

Poor oral hygiene could expose you to the leading cause of death in America  

 

The connection between diabetes and gum disease is well researched. Now oral health may play a factor in heart disease—the number one killer of both women and men in America.1

A concrete link between oral and cardiovascular health hasn’t been found, but growing evidence points to poor oral health as a warning sign for heart attack and stroke. In one study, the risk for heart disease among people with periodontal (gum) disease was nearly three times higher than those without it.2

 

What health experts think

Research suggests oral bacteria form plaque in the arteries, break away and lodge in the brain or heart. That’s scary stuff, even in theory.

 

Good oral health habits to reduce your risk

It’s easy to play it safe by keeping up a good oral health routine. Talk to your dentist about your risks, especially if heart disease runs in your family.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, (after meals), limit snacking, drink water throughout the day and use a soft-bristled brush.
  • Floss to remove dental plaque from places that your toothbrush can’t reach. Food debris left between your teeth can cause bad breath and lead to gum disease.
  • Avoid sweets and other empty-calorie snacks that cause tooth decay. Bacteria and sugar produce acids that attack the teeth.

 

Get more expert oral health advice:

How red, swollen gums could affect your whole body

Why gum disease makes it harder to treat diabetes

See why regular dental checkups can lower your health care costs

 

1. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2000.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006.