What do bad tooth-brushing habits have to do with cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and heart disease? Studies show poor oral health and heart disease are linked—meaning the plaque on your teeth may be connected to the plaque in your arteries.
Without regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, bacteria and plaque can build up in your mouth, triggering inflammation, infection, and conditions like periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease—an infection of the gums and source of chronic, systemic inflammation—is tied to higher heart risk and cardiovascular issues like hypertension and heart disease.
Periodontal Disease and High Blood Pressure
According to a study published in the AHA journal Hypertension, gum disease appears to worsen blood pressure and can interfere with medications that treat hypertension. When the gums are infected—due to bad brushing and bacteria accumulation on teeth—the disease can spread to other parts of the body, causing systemic inflammation. This, in turn, can harm blood and cause blood vessel damage. If untreated or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, as well as kidney disease.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
There’s also a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease. The same bacteria that cause periodontal (gum) disease can get into the bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere in the body. These bacteria can build up and cause plaque to accumulate and harden in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
While these cardiovascular issues may develop in a patient because of lifestyle or genetics, with bad teeth, they are only made worse. So if you know you or your family members are at risk for a heart condition, please, pay special attention to your oral health.
In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and scheduling regular checkups with your primary care doctor, make sure to practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day for two minutes and don’t forget to floss daily! Flossing and heart disease may seem poles apart, but flossing plays an important role in keeping your gums healthy and preventing cardiovascular problems.
Finally, be sure to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with Dr. Giaquinto at Cottonwood Dental to maintain your oral health. And, as always, if you have any questions about dental health and heart disease, don’t hesitate to reach out! Give us a call at 505-899-7645 or fill out our online contact form.