Does Dental Hygiene Affect Your Heart Health?

dental hygiene kit

We all know the drill—brush our teeth twice a day and floss right after to keep our teeth spick and span. But did you know that our oral health plays a much bigger role in our overall well-being? While we might neglect it at times, our dental hygiene actually has a surprising link to heart health.

So, if you’re thinking about skipping your dental hygiene, think again, mate! Let’s talk about the startling link on how dental hygiene can affect heart disease.

Exploring the Mouth-Body Connection: Beyond Just a Pretty Smile

Your mouth is the entryway to all your body’s inner workings. While we are happy to be able to taste and eat food through it, our mouths are also home to millions of bacteria. Some of these can be good, and some not-so-good. Maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing keeps these bacterial colonies at bay.  However, neglecting dental care allows these plaque-forming bacteria to multiply, causing more trouble than you think.

Plaque is made up of several different components, like food debris, saliva, and millions of live bacteria. When plaque builds up, this can harden around the teeth and irritate the gums causing gingivitis, which is the precursor to gum disease. If left unchecked, gingivitis can escalate to periodontitis, which is a severe gum infection that damages the bone and tissues around your teeth. 

While oral health does not strike that much importance to the average Australian, the thing is, the chronic inflammation triggered by untreated gum disease can extend beyond the mouth!

Can Poor Dental Hygiene Cause Heart Problems?

Although the relationship between dental hygiene and heart disease is still being studied, there has been various research that shows the link between the two. A 2018 study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found an association between periodontitis and an increased risk of heart failure in Australian adults.

While more research is needed to fully understand the cause-and-effect relationship, the existing evidence suggests a clear connection between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.

How Does Dental Hygiene Affect Your Heart? 

Here’s the scoop: Bacteria from gum disease can infiltrate your bloodstream via inflamed gum tissue. Once in circulation, these unwelcome guests can spread the inflammation throughout your body, including your arteries. Because of this, chronic low-grade inflammation poses a risk for various health issues, including a much bigger one like heart disease.

Here’s how poor dental hygiene might affect your heart health:

Atherosclerosis (Hardening of Arteries)

The inflammation coming from gum disease may contribute to plaque buildup around the arteries. This leads to the narrowing of the arteries’ pathways and elevates the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. 

Blood Clots

The same inflammation can also promote blood clot formation, potentially leading to blockages in arteries and cardiovascular events.

Maintaining a Healthy Smile and Heart 

The good news? There are always ways to prevent poor dental hygiene and heart disease from happening! Here are some tips on how to keep your teeth thriving and your heart healthy:

  • Brushing & Flossing Routine: Start with the basics – brush twice daily for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t forget to do floss daily to help remove debris that is not removed from brushing. Doing these can help maintain gum health and reduce gum disease risk.
  • Regular Dental Checkups: Don’t skip those dentist appointments! Regular visits allow early detection and treatment of potential oral health issues, preventing complications. Try to pay a visit to your dentist every 6 months.
  • Balanced Diet: Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These nutrient-packed foods combat inflammation and promote overall health.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking can pose various threats to your health, including oral and heart health. Taking a puff can heighten the risk of gum disease and heart complications. Choosing to quit smoking is a significant step toward better overall health.

Nurturing Your Heart and Smile for a Healthier You

Here are a few more tips to ensure both your heart and oral health are nurtured well:

  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can intensify inflammation, so finding healthy ways to manage stress is beneficial for heart health. Whether it’s meditation, exercise, or spending time in nature, find what works for you and make it a priority.
  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity is always a good idea to incorporate into your daily routine, and helpful for both oral and cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to keep your heart and gums in top shape.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth, reducing the risk of plaque buildup and gum disease that can cause heart disease.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you have more complicated concerns about your dental hygiene or heart health, address these issues with your healthcare provider. They can offer personalised guidance and support to help you maintain optimal health.

Prevent Severe Heart Problems with Clean Teeth

By prioritising dental hygiene and adopting heart-healthy habits, we can reduce the risk of gum disease, heart disease, and other related health issues. Remember, taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just about a beautiful smile but safeguarding your overall health and well-being. Ready to take a step towards healthier, cleaner teeth? Look for our dental pros at Bellevue Hill Dental! Talk to our experts about the best solution for your oral health status to pave the way towards healthier teeth and gums and a happy heart. Schedule an appointment with us or call +61 2 5849 6569.

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