Oral Health Habits for a Strong Heart

by | Feb 20, 2024 | Preventative Dentistry

February is American Heart Month and we’re covering a heart-related topic many may not be familiar with—the link between your oral health and your heart health. Besides impressing your dentist or your next date, there are important cardiovascular implications to consider when it comes to your oral health and hygiene. 

Study after study has shown that people who have poor oral health (such as gum disease or tooth loss) have higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke than people with good oral health.” — Robert H. Shmerling, MD in Harvard Health Publishing

So how exactly is your heart affected by what’s going on inside your mouth? Studies suggest that the spread of bad bacteria through the bloodstream caused by poor oral hygiene can cause inflammation around the heart by attaching themselves to damaged or compromised areas. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining. Stroke and clogged arteries can also be a result of inflammation caused by oral bacteria. That said, below are five heart-healthy oral health habits to implement today: 

Brush your teeth twice daily

Many people underestimate the power of routine brushing when it comes to their oral health. Brushing both morning and night prevents cavities and gum disease by removing harmful, plaque-causing bacteria that eat your tooth enamel and enter the bloodstream potentially contributing to inflammation in other parts of the body, including the arteries of the heart.

Floss every night

Another important aspect of preventive oral care is flossing. Floss reaches where your toothbrush can’t and disrupts the formation of plaque which can eventually lead to gum disease when left untreated. Poor oral health, particularly gum disease (periodontal disease), has been associated with an increased risk of certain systemic conditions, including heart disease.

Attend routine check-ups

Alongside proper at-home care, scheduling a regular dental exam every six months is vital to maintaining good oral health. These check-ups can find issues that, left undiscovered, could lead to serious complications and expensive procedures. Dr. Meden at Elite Smiles is trained to recognize oral issues and diseases and provide proper care.

Use ADA-approved dental products

Backed by science, ADA-approved dental products go through rigorous testing to ensure both the safety and efficacy of treatment. While there are many products on the market, you can trust ADA-approved dental products to support and complement oral health guidelines and recommendations.

Maintain a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet will directly impact both your oral and heart health. Limiting sugar and processed foods and instead focusing on a well-rounded diet full of vitamins and minerals will help maintain good gum and teeth health and positively affect your cardiovascular health. 

The relationship between oral health and heart health is complex, and maintaining good overall health involves a combination of healthy lifestyle choices. Learn more about improving your oral health through at-home preventive care or schedule your routine dental exam