The Link Between a Healthy Smile and a Healthy Heart

A healthy smile is linked to a healthy heart, and poor oral health can be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

There is a link between chronic periodontitis—an advanced form of gum disease—and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death, not just in the United States but globally, and periodontitis is more common among people with the disease. Awareness is better than ever. More people are eating well and exercising on a regular basis, and smokers are quitting at a record rate. Yet, many still do not realize just how important oral hygiene can be toward that end as well.

The American Academy of Periodontology published a study in its Journal of Periodontology in which it was found that the human body reacts to periodontal bacteria in a manner consistent with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A link between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease has long been recognized, but Kenneth Kornman, DDS, Ph.D., the JOP editor, noted that this new evidence suggested a causal relationship whereas many other studies had often reflected correlation rather than the cause.

Such research is not isolated. Howard University researchers pored over many projects that had studied the relationship between cardiovascular disease and clinically diagnosed gum disease. The team paid particular attention to the biological indicators that reveal bacterial exposure. It identified 11 studies in which patients with those biomarkers were more prone to arterial plaque formation.

Researchers involved in such projects are usually quick to point out a caveat: more research is needed. While science is making great strides exploring the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease as well as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, dementia, and so forth, these efforts are still in their infancy, relatively. But this caution is from the perspective of the scientific method.

Susan Karabin, DDS, is the President of the AAP, and she is quick to note that evidence like this already has real value to people trying to be healthy and live as long as possible. Science may still lack the evidence to demonstrate cause and effect, but there is a wealth of evidence that brushing and flossing twice a day is good for your heart health and can certainly do no harm.

Protect Your Heart and Your Oral Health

Lower risk of cardiovascular disease is another excellent recent to embrace comprehensive and consistent oral hygiene. This includes visiting your dentist twice a year, even when your teeth and gums feel fine. Not only can Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, help keep your mouth healthy, but he can also make early diagnoses of a wide range of health conditions, many of which can be related to cardiovascular disease. Contact Scottsdale Dental Excellence at 480 585 1853 to schedule your checkup.

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