The heart–mouth connection: What you should know

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Health and Wellness

Your oral health routine isn’t just about pearly whites – it’s a critical aspect of your heart health too. Neglecting oral hygiene allows harmful bacteria to flourish, leading to issues such as bad breath, cavities and gingivitis (gum disease), which left untreated can progress to periodontal disease. These bacteria can also travel through your bloodstream, increasing the chances of infections such as endocarditis and contributing to clogged arteries that may lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Recognizing signs of poor oral health is key. Keep an eye out for red, swollen gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, receding gums, bad breath and signs of infection or decay. Individuals with advanced gingivitis or periodontitis, diagnosed heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or those who smoke are particularly at risk.

Taking proactive steps, such as saying no to cigarettes, adopting a vitamin-rich diet and prioritizing regular exercise, makes an important difference. And to prevent gum issues, oral health professionals recommend that you maintain a daily oral care routine, brush for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth with floss or interdental tools, and rinse with an antibacterial solution.

Even if the direct link between gum and heart disease isn’t fully understood, studies show a higher risk for heart problems in those with poor oral health. A consistent oral care routine and regular appointments with your dental hygienist are crucial. Remember to tell them about your health conditions and any medications you are taking.

To learn more about the connection between your heart and oral health visit dentalhygienecanada.ca

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