Can bad oral hygiene pose a serious health risk? Oral hygiene and heart disease

Posted in , by Ms Lucy Holl

From a young age, the importance of good oral health has been drilled into us- whether that be at school, by our parents or our trusty dentist.

The norm is that 6-monthly visits will suffice and if you floss, brush regularly and limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume, you should be in the tooth fairy’s good books for the foreseeable.

Although, it is not only the neglect of oral hygiene that can cause unhealthy teeth and gums; genetics can determine things like having ‘softer’ enamel, which unfortunately allows more bacteria beyond the surface of the teeth, making them more prone to cavities.

Oral health problems are not often classed as serious health issues, this is because they don’t usually pose an immediate serious threat to your overall health however, it may come as a surprise that ill oral health is directly linked with heart disease.

Studies have shown:

  • 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 blood stream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health may be particularly important if you have 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.
  • Heart disease is not the most common result of ill oral health; however, the link is prominent so it’s important to always take care of your teeth and gums.

Dental appointments are set up routinely, to avoid tooth loss or serious oral damage in the first instance. At Echelon Health, we believe that our overall health should also be approached in this way- why wait around for something to go wrong when you can prevent it in the first place?

Find out more about our Healthy Heart Health Assessment here and contact us today.