It almost seems absurd, how could poor oral hygiene cause heart attacks? Bad breath, maybe, and certainly a less than fabulous social life, but heart disease?
Oddly enough, it’s true; two separate studies have concluded that not brushing your teeth and practicing poor oral health can lead to a heart disease and in some cases, life-threatening heart attacks. The findings of these studies may surprise you.
Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine – Sugar Can Kill
The connection between a fatty, mostly junk food diet and heart disease has been well established, but now researchers have found that sugar may actually be one of the biggest causes of heart disease.
Junk food diets are high in sugar as well as fat and salt, and those who indulge in sugary carbonated drinks consume even more sugar.
The study linked poor oral hygiene and a diet high in sugar to periodontal disease. Chronic gum disease may instigate an inflammatory reaction that can cause atherosclerosis, more commonly known as hardening of the arteries.
How this causes heart attacks is that the arteries become less elastic due to the swelling and do not allow as much blood flow to and from the heart.
Society For General Microbiology – Brushing Away Bacteria May Save Your Life
The human mouth is a dirty place. Inside you’ll find bacteria, plaque, viruses, fungus and microbes, and that’s in a clean mouth. When you neglect your teeth and gums, you allow these creepy crawlies to flourish, and that’s a problem. If you want to live a long and healthy life, poor oral hygiene is a big problem.
A recent study by the Society for General Microbiology has linked bacteria that enter through the gums to heart disease. When you fail to brush your teeth and floss properly, the bleeding gums can allow up to 700 different types of bacteria to enter your blood stream.
These bacteria then stick to the tiny platelets in your blood, making them bigger and causing clots within your blood vessels. These clots can stop the blood from returning to your heart and can ultimately cause a heart attack.
This condition is treatable with a course of strong antibiotics but only if it’s caught in time. Chronic poor oral hygiene almost guarantees that you’ll have bacterial infection in your blood.
How To Ensure Proper Oral Hygiene
The first step in ensuring that your mouth, teeth and gums are healthy is to visit your dentist. This can be expensive if you don’t have health insurance, but you may need to decide what your health is worth and reprioritize.
Your dentist or hygienist will assess your gums and teeth and determine whether you have any type of cavities or periodontal disease. If they find something, you’ll be given a course of treatment.
You should also be sure to brush and floss regularly to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible. If bleeding gums have been a problem for you in the past, consider adding an anti-bacterial rinse to your daily oral hygiene routine.
We have known for years that healthy eating and exercise can help prevent heart disease and heart attacks, and now we know that maintaining your teeth and gums may also help you lead a longer and healthier life. If you keep your teeth and gums in tip-top condition, you’ll be on track to keeping your heart in good shape as well.