It's increasingly common to hear that oral health is vital for overall health.
More than 80 percent of Americans, for example, are living with periodontal or gum issues, which often goes undiagnosed. This may be because the patient's teeth feel fine, so one avoids going to the dentist. And yearly visits to the physician rarely focus on the importance of oral health.
According to Delta Dental, however, there is now evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart health. First, recent studies show that if a person has gum issues in a moderate or advanced stage, they're at greater risk for heart issues than someone with healthy gums. And second, our oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a range of conditions, including those in the heart.
Why Are These Things Related? Oral health and heart issues are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from our mouths to other parts of our bodies through the blood stream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any challenged area and cause inflammation.
This can result in health matters such as an issue of the inner lining of the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Other cardiovascular conditions such as issues related to arteries have also been linked to irritation caused by oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association.