Heart Disease & Your Oral Health
Heart disease makes up a variety of health problems, such as coronary artery disease and heart failure.1 Many forms of heart disease involve a hardening or thickening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque. Over time, this buildup can make it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries – eventually creating blockages that can lead to heart attack or stroke.2
The link between gum disease and heart health
Gum disease and heart disease are each linked to increased inflammation in the body.3 Both conditions also share some of the same risk factors, including:
- Increased age
- Poor diet
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
While there is a proven association between gum disease and heart disease, there is not enough evidence to indicate whether one condition causes the other.3
Take steps to improve your oral and overall health
Regardless of what’s behind the link between heart disease and gum disease, no health professional will argue against the benefits of maintaining a healthy mouth. Good oral health can be achieved by taking better care of your teeth and gums at home and by visiting the dentist regularly. It’s also important to talk to your dentist about your medical history, including whether you have a heart condition or a family history of heart disease.
By following a healthy lifestyle and addressing the common risk factors of both diseases, you can help improve both your oral and overall health.
1. Heart Disease Definition; Mayo Clinic; July 2014
2. What is Cardiovascular Disease? American Heart Association; January 2017
3. Dental Health and Heart Health; American Heart Association; December 2013
4. "New" Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease; American Dental Association; October 2015