Some habits are widely known to threaten the heart, like smoking, but neglecting your oral health isn’t immediately connected to heart health. The truth is that research indicates a close link between a person’s oral health and heart health. The bacteria that accumulates in your mouth to create gum disease can also pose a threat to your heart. This means that preventing gum disease does more than just keep your smile pearly white!
Connecting the Mouth and Heart
The gums inside of the mouth are full of blood vessels, and the mouth itself is filled with bacteria. When unhealthy gums become inflamed, the bacteria in the mouth can seep into the bloodstream and travel anywhere within the body. This creates dangerous inflammation that threatens the heart.
Inflammation causes hardened arteries, which makes it difficult for blood to flow to the heart. Atherosclerosis dramatically increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. When the inflammation of atherosclerosis combines with the inflammation and roaming bacteria caused by gum disease, the results could prove fatal. Doctors can actually link certain types of bacteria with periodontal disease, including Streptococcus sanguis. It is far more common for people with gum disease to have Streptococcus sanguis bacteria in their hearts. This highlights the connection between the heart and the mouth. [Read more…]