Think the only thing suffering from your poor oral hygiene is your mouth? Think again! There is a strong correlation between how well you care for your oral health and your risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists have not yet uncovered if one causes the other, or they are both symptoms of another root cause. However, there are some very convincing theories to explain how poor oral health can negatively affect heart health. While this may be surprising, let’s look closer at the potential domino effect that starts with poor oral hygiene and ends in a higher risk of heart attack.
- In a study conducted by the European Society of Cardiology, tooth brushing three or more times a day was associated with a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% lower risk of heart failure during 10.5-year follow up.
- In another study, participants who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes had a three-fold increased risk for endothelial dysfunction compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.
- A third study found gum disease is linked to higher blood pressure and can disrupt the effectiveness of hypertension drugs.
Poor Oral Health
When you neglect proper oral hygiene routines, bacteria quickly thrive in your mouth. A warm, wet environment is ideal for bacterial growth, making your mouth especially vulnerable to bacterial growth. As quickly as 12 hours after you brush, your mouth can be full of bacteria growth. Especially in the (not visible) gap between your teeth and gums, bacteria grow quickly and have easy access to your bloodstream. As bacteria multiply quickly, they will enter the bloodstream to find new places to grow with more room and food.
As bacteria enter your bloodstream to find a new place to grow, your body’s natural defenses kick in. One main defense is inflammation. Your body begins producing antibodies and proteins to fight the bacterial infection. This is an important emergency function to protect your body. However, if there is a constant bacterial onslaught, your body stays in emergency mode for prolonged periods of time. This leads to a fatigue of your immune system, and strain on your body. Many health complications have been linked to chronic inflammation in the body such as poor heart health, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity and asthma.
Stop bacterial infections at the source. Thoroughly clean your mouth twice daily. This includes brushing and flossing, supplementing with water flossing and mouthwash often. If you’re unsure how to properly clean your teeth or have problem areas that never seem to get clean, contact your dental hygienist. If you live near Colorado Springs and are looking for a dentist or dental hygienist, West One Family Dental is accepting new patients. We have a passion for empowering our patients to care for their teeth well. A clean mouth gives you many reasons to smile!