What Is the Link Between Oral Health and Heart Disease?

| January 19, 2017

Oral HealthYou probably already appreciate the value of good oral health for a bright, radiant smile. But now a growing body of research is finding links between oral health and overall wellbeing, including heart health. Research is on-going, but it is clear that good oral health and good heart health go hand in hand.

Gum Health and Heart Disease

Studies show that people with gingivitis or moderate to advanced periodontal (gum) disease are more likely to have heart disease, especially if their gum condition is undiagnosed and untreated. More than 80 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease often goes undiagnosed because patients don’t feel any oral discomfort, therefore avoid visits to the dentist.

Your gums are full of tiny blood vessels, and when gum disease breaks down the barrier between those blood vessels and the bacteria in your mouth, that bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Researchers believe that bacteria associated with gum disease may be a cause of inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Dental Plaque’s Contribution to Heart and Other Diseases

The buildup of dental plaque can contribute to the development of gingivitis and gum disease. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth, and when you eat sugars and starches, bacteria in the plaque release acids that attack tooth enamel. The sticky plaque keeps those acids in contact with your teeth and gums, increasing your chance of developing or worsening gum disease.

Keeping your teeth free of dental plaque buildup is your first line of defense against gum disease, which has been linked with heart disease and other serious health problems such as diabetes, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature birth.

Are Tooth Infections and Heart Disease Related?

Studies have shown that infection in the root tip of a tooth increase a patient’s risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). ACS a blanket term for when blood flow is blocked to the coronary arteries leading to heart disease. Root tip infection can increase a person’s risk of ACS even if there are no symptoms of the infection. This is a cause for concern because such infections are quite common and often go undetected. This makes it all the more important to visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups.


Dental hygiene is the key to happy, healthy mouth. To keep yourself free from oral health problems, which may increase your risk of heart disease, we recommend a few proactive steps:

Brush your teeth twice daily
Floss daily, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the bacteria
Have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis

How We Can Help

The value of a healthy smile is clear — and with a growing body of research linking oral health with the health of the whole body, it’s in your best interest to be proactive about preventing plaque buildup and gum disease.

At Grandview Dental, we care about both your oral health and your overall well-being. Ask your dentist here about the best cleaning schedule for you. You can call us at 614.468.8654 to make an appointment.