Can oral health affect the heart?

Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health can be particularly important if you have artificial heart valves. Tooth loss patterns are linked to coronary artery disease. Poor oral health and a lack of tooth brushing can also worsen blood pressure and even interfere with medications for hypertension.

In some cases, poor oral health can even worsen heart valve infections. Bacteria Gum disease also creates an environment in which bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Some studies suggest that the same bacteria have been found in the mouth in plaque and in obstructions in the heart arteries, causing a heart attack and stroke. They also indicate that people with gum disease may have almost twice the risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

Ann Bolger, a cardiologist and emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, agreed that the observational study had limitations. Although not all dental health is firmly linked to heart health, there are enough links to say with confidence that you must take care of your mouth to care for your heart. The connection between poor oral health and general health may not be limited to cardiovascular disease. Based on these controlled clinical trials, researchers believe that neutrophils are the mechanism by which patients with gum disease can contract other unrelated health problems, such as heart disease, underscoring the need to protect oral health to help minimize risk of developing other conditions.

While preventing heart disease involves more good health habits than simply maintaining optimal oral hygiene, you can reduce the risk of oral bacteria causing cardiovascular problems and other health problems by following a preventive dental maintenance program. Oral health and heart disease are linked to the spread of bacteria (and other germs) from the mouth to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Still, Bolger said that science supports a possible connection between dental health and heart health.