Several studies have shown that heart disease is directly linked with periodontal or gum disease. While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has shown that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease.
Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for this association. Periodontal disease has also been shown to exacerbate existing heart conditions. For example, patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your dentist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics before any dental procedures.
Additional studies have also suggested a relationship between gum disease and stroke. In one study, it was found that people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.
Good Oral Hygiene
Regardless of the ongoing debate, maintaining good oral health is important for a healthy life. Our office recommends that you:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner, if the bristles become frayed.
- See your dentist for regular dental checkups.
If you’re worried about your heart health, speak to a cardiologist, and remember to stay healthy by regularly exercising, and to eliminate smoking and drinking from your diet.