Can Bad Oral Health Lead to Heart Disease?

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The entire body is a system that is connected to each other, which is why poor oral health can lead to other health issues. One of the biggest problems linked to bad hygiene is heart disease. With more Australians suffering from gum disease in varying stages, tons of people can be at risk of heart problems.

Unfortunately, the beginning stages of periodontal disease have not as many symptoms, which means people might be at risk without them knowing it. When their gum disease also progresses, then the probability of contracting heart disease increases.

The Link Between Oral Health And Heart Disease

While many people might not easily associate oral health with heart health, they are obviously connected through the body’s bloodstream. This means any bacteria that enter the bloodstream can easily travel to the heart and cause inflammation. This is how heart disease begins. Below are the ways poor oral hygiene can be bad for your heart.

1. Untreated Cavities

Untreated cavities lead to periodontal disease. Over time, when this is not treated, the gums may recede and a gap beneath your gum line can widen.

Here is where bacteria hide and spread. Once the bacteria enters the bloodstream, it will reach the arteries. They may harden there and cause atherosclerosis. This disease leads to plaque on the inner walls of the arteries and ends up restricting the flow of blood to the rest of the body, including the heart.

2. Bleeding Gums

Having poor oral hygiene can result in gum infection. Signs of infected gums include sensitivity, bleeding, or being red in color instead of pink. Unfortunately, this bleeding may also trigger endocarditis, a rare but quite serious heart ailment. It develops when infected gums let in bacteria that reach the inner lining of the patient’s heart. 

Once this happens, the heart valves fail to function efficiently, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Besides adopting good oral habits, you can lower your risk of endocarditis by informing your doctor and dentist of any blood or heart complications and any new medication.

3. Periodontal Disease

Gum disease will not just increase your chances of getting heart disease, but it will also increase the chances of you having a heart attack. This is because having heart disease makes it more likely that the blood flows into the heart being completely blocked. Once this happens, you can end up having a heart attack.

The worst thing is that a heart attack is not just dangerous, but it can also be expensive if do not have full coverage. Thus, the best thing to do is to avoid or treat gum disease.

Who Is at Risk?

Anyone who does not maintain good oral habits can be at risk of heart disease, but those with advanced periodontal disease should watch out the most.

Regular visits to the dentist can catch gum disease and stop its progression as early as possible and thus, the risks are reduced.

Undiagnosed and untreated cases are most likely to suffer heart problems. In general, bacteria that gets into the bloodstream can trigger inflammation in your blood vessels.

The most important thing to do is to watch out for the following warning signs or symptoms of gum disease. The first is sore, red, and swollen gums that bleed when you floss, brush the teeth or even eat. Another telltale sign is pus or other infection symptoms in the teeth and gums.

As the condition progresses, the gums start to look like they are pulling away from the rest of the teeth. The teeth might also feel loose or might move away from other teeth. The last symptom is bad breath or having a bad taste in the mouth.

Prevention Is Better Than The Cure

The solution to reducing the risk of gum disease and heart problems is to maintain good oral hygiene and to go regularly to the dentist.

Follow the recommended routine of brushing every tooth surface and use only ADA-accepted toothbrush and toothpaste. Flossing daily can also help.

Lastly, visiting your dentist regularly can catch gum disease before it progresses and at the same time, you can also go for regular professional cleaning. A beautiful and clean set of teeth is more than just aesthetically pleasing, but it is also good for the heart.

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