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Could Poor Oral Health Lead to Heart Disease?



Oral health doesn’t strike as much importance to the everyday Australian as heart disease. 

Well, that needs to change. 

New findings have linked poor oral health to heart disease.

In fact, one study has discovered a whopping 91 percent of patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, also experience gum disease.

Evidently, the connection between the two can factor down to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption. All of these are key triggers to both gum and heart disease, so the question remains... can poor oral hygiene cause heart problems? If so, how does the mouth tell the heart whether it’s healthy or not? 

A growing amount of research is connecting oral health with the heart via the transportation of mouth bacteria through the bloodstream.

It all starts with the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis. This occurs when dental plaque builds up in the tiny crevice where the tooth meets the gum. If you neglect regular brushing and flossing, the gum can become red, swollen and even bloody. 

Over time, gingivitis can develop into a more severe gum disease called periodontitis. This build up of bad bacteria and germs stuck in the gums causes more pain and inflammation, as well as tooth loss. 

If the bacteria from periodontal disease makes its way into the bloodstream, it has the potential to harden the arteries and trigger atherosclerosis disease, resulting in fatal heart blockages. 

Worried? Don’t be. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is easier than you may think. 

Ways to reduce your chances of gum disease: 

Like most diseases, prevention is the best cure. The best way to prevent gum disease developing is by keeping your mouth clean and germ-free. 

Add these daily steps to your oral health routine: 

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes
  2. Use dental floss to clean in between your teeth
  3. Avoid smoking
  4. Avoid sugary drinks
  5. Have a glass of water after you drink coffee
  6. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially crunchy foods such as apples
  7. Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist. Mulgrave Dental Group recommends visiting the dentist every six months as a part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

While incorporating a healthy oral hygiene routine is the best way to reduce your chances of gum disease and its potential threat on the heart, the good news doesn’t stop there. The chances of periodontitis entering the bloodstream and triggering atherosclerosis are rare.

Nevertheless, the connection is there. 

The mouth is the entry point to your body, and if you stop looking after your mouth with daily brushing, flossing and regular dental check ups, your mouth could breed all kinds of bad bacteria. Not only will you be dealing with a case of bad breath, but you could be spreading the bacteria into other parts of your body.

It’s an important reminder to include good oral hygiene practices to your daily routine combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Here at Mulgrave Dental Group, we are passionate about your overall health and wellbeing. If you're looking for a dentist who looks at the bigger picture, book an appointment with us here.

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