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The Link Between Heart Disease & Periodontal Disease

In honor of National Heart Month, we want to bring awareness to a connection that may be unknown to many of our dental patients in the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon area.

Did you know that your dental health can directly impact your heart health?

It may not be an obvious connection, but we continue to see direct connections between these two areas of our health.

How Are Heart Disease & Dental Inflammation Related?

Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in heart diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health might contribute to various heart diseases, including:

  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

“Periodontal disease is now recognized by the cardiology community to be a direct risk factor for coronary arterial disease, peripheral arterial disease and stroke,” says Sam Shamardi, a dentist at the Boston Center for Oral Health and clinical instructor in the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s division of periodontology. “The common link to these and other diseases is inflammation.”

For a more in-depth presentation of the relationship between dental and heart health, we recommend you watch this video:

Where Does Dental Inflammation Come From?

Like many areas of the body, your mouth is filled with bacteria — most of them harmless.

Typically, the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Those infections are the source of inflammation that can impact not only your oral health but other parts of your body…even your heart.

This is yet another reason to prioritize good dental health. Please be sure to practice good oral hygiene every day, and contact your dentist for regular preventative care as well.

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