What do you think of when you think of poor oral health? If you’re like most people, you envision cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth. However, while these things are certainly consequences of not taking good care of your dental health, the effects of oral diseases can reverberate throughout the body. One health condition that is closely linked to oral health is heart disease. The link between oral health and heart disease goes two ways. First, poor dental health can trigger heart problems. Second, declining oral health can be an indicator of heart disease. Take a closer look at this surprising link with this information.
Poor Oral Health as a Heart Disease Trigger
The Academy of General Dentistry lists poor oral health—or, more specifically, gum disease—as a major risk factor for heart attacks. Studies have repeatedly indicated that people with gum disease have a higher rate of heart attacks than those with healthy gums. How gum disease contributes to heart problems has not been definitively determined, but dentists suspect two possibilities. First, bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause a dangerous infection in the heart. Second, inflammation caused by gum disease may trigger blood clots, which interfere with blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack.
Poor Oral Health as a Heart Disease Indicator
One of the reasons your dentist is such an important member of your healthcare team is because 90 percent of illnesses have oral health symptoms. If your dentist notices a change in your oral health, such as increased gum inflammation, he or she may recommend that you see your doctor to be screened for a heart problem.
Your oral health is too important to ignore. Let Dr. Kenn Kakosian, D.D.S., P.C. help you get and maintain a healthy mouth. At our NYC dental practice, we offer everything from whitening and Invisalign to preventative dental care. Find out more or schedule an appointment by calling (212) 661-9777.