Here’s how skipping the dentist can impact your heart health.
You know that brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly are the major rules of good oral hygiene (and keeping those pearlies white). But if your oral care habits leave, say, a little something to be desired, can getting diagnosed with gum disease also mean an increased your risk of heart disease?
It just might. While gum disease (periodontitis) does not cause heart disease, it may increase your heart disease risk. That’s because heart disease and gum disease share a key underlying cause: inflammation. “Gum disease [is] a source of chronic inflammation. We’re starting to understand that inflammation underlies a lot of the heart disease that we see,” says Paul Knoepflmacher, MD, a clinical instructor in medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Inflammation in the body, large or small, can have an impact on heart disease risk. “Even low levels of inflammation anywhere in your body, especially in your gums—like a little cavity that’s aggravating you—[is] causing an inflammatory response to your whole body and that can lead to acceleration in both heart disease and stroke,” says Satjit Bhusri, MD, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “There’s a reason why insurance covers two cleanings a year. It’s because we want to catch chronic inflammation,” says Dr. Bhusri.
Aside from scheduling those regular dental check-ups once or twice a year, here are some other important need-to-know oral hygiene tips to keep your smile, and you, healthy:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. (Here’s a sign your toothbrush habits are messing with your health.)
- Eat a balanced diet and avoid soda and sweets.
“If you get regular oral care, brush your teeth, [and] floss, you may actually be preventing problems with your heart even though it’s not obvious that there’s a link,” says Dr. Knoepflmacher.
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One thing that people don't necessarily
know is that your oral health,
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specifically your gums and your teeth,
can have an impact on heart disease.
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And that's because If you have gum disease
that's a source of chronic inflammation.
00:00:19,670 --> 00:00:22,701
And we are starting to understand
that inflammation underlies
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a lot of the heart disease that we see.
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Even low levels of inflammation
anywhere in you body especially your gums.
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That is even as a little cavity
that's just aggravating you.
00:00:32,615 --> 00:00:35,695
It's causing an inflammatory
response into your whole body.
00:00:35,695 --> 00:00:40,835
And that can lead to acceleration
in both heart disease and stroke.
00:00:40,835 --> 00:00:45,195
There is a reason why insurance
covers two cleanings a year,
00:00:45,195 --> 00:00:48,825
it's because we wanna catch
00:00:48,825 --> 00:00:51,374
So if you get regular oral care,
brush your teeth,
00:00:51,374 --> 00:00:54,578
floss you may be actually preventing
problems with your heart,
00:00:54,578 --> 00:00:57,208
even though it's not obvious
that there's a link.
00:00:57,208 --> 00:01:02,719
Dental Health and Heart Health. American Heart Association. (Accessed on February 9, 2018 at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Dental-Health-and-Heart-Health_UCM_459358_Article.jsp#.Wn3605M-eL4)
What is Oral Health? Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. (Accessed on February 9, 2018 at https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-health)