The debate over poor oral health as a possible cause of heart disease has been raging for many years. A 2012 expert review by the American Heart Association concluded that poor oral health is not yet a proven cause of heart disease and that treating existing gum disease hasn’t yet been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Still, studies do indicate some connection between oral health and heart disease, although more research is needed to understand the link. Here are the key findings of such studies:
- Gum disease (periodontitis) is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
- Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health may be particularly important for people with artificial heart valves.
- Tooth loss patterns are connected to coronary artery disease.
- There is a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment.
While the current evidence shows that oral health is not critical to heart disease prevention, dental health experts stress the importance of taking care of your teeth and gums by following these tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986. Accessed 22 December 2019