Poor Oral Hygiene Linked to Several Heart Diseases

Dentists and other oral care professionals have known for a long time that while poor oral hygiene can certainly cause issues for your teeth and gums, there can be far more serious implications for your overall health.

The main reason that oral care can be a good indicator of overall health is because human mouths are figuratively filled with bacteria, most of which pose no threat given a good oral hygiene regimen. When those bacteria are able to enter the body, most notably through the blood stream, they can cause all sorts of problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular problems – The American Academy of Periodontology has found scientific proof of a link between heart disease and oral care. Most often, the problem occurs for patients with periodontitis, which is a form of gum disease causing swollen and bleeding gums. Whenever the gums bleed, bacteria in a person’s mouth is able to enter the blood stream, some of which can be very bad for the heart.
  • Endocarditis – This disease is different from most cardiovascular issues in that it affects only the inner layer of the heart, causing it and the heart valves to swell up. This too has been linked to bacteria originating in the mouth, entering through the blood stream.

There are other suspected links between oral care and diseases/illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and even premature birth, but at this time those are not yet firmly established.

Given these links, the issue of oral care becomes about more than just mouth health, and rather becomes an issue of full-body health. Regular home-based oral care as well as visits to your dentist for cleanings and examinations may just help you stay healthy longer.