The Curious Link Between Dental Health and Your Heart

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February is American Heart Month, a month when we learn more about heart-healthy habits and encourage others working to meet their heart-healthy goals. As we recognize the organ that works tirelessly to supply oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, let’s reflect on the interesting link researchers have found between dental health and heart health.

An Interesting Link

When you think of a dentist, healthy teeth come to mind. But gum health issues that dentists address are just as important. A Harvard Health study showed that compared to those with healthy gums those with periodontal (gum) disease are 2X-3X more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or another cardiovascular event.

Hitching a Ride

Researchers are currently investigating this link. Based upon current studies they believe that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease may enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums and hitch a ride to the heart.

Your Body’s Role

It may not be the bacteria alone that cause the heart health challenges. Rather, inflammation is likely to blame. Inflammation is your immune system’s way of fighting infections. But if the immune system becomes overwhelmed, as would be the case if untreated gum disease keeps resupplying the bloodstream, chronic inflammation results.

An Alternative Theory

Some researchers believe that these studies’ findings show a link rather than cause and effect. A person who takes care of their teeth is also more likely to take care of their heart.

More research is needed to confirm the actual relationship between the two. But until we know for certain, one thing is very clear. Those who prioritize teeth and gum health have a much lower risk of suffering from a cardiac event. As American Heart Month approaches, isn’t it time to also schedule your next dental checkup? You can schedule your appointment with Dentistry on Carmel directly from our website.

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