Does a healthy mouth contribute to a healthy heart? More and more, the research says “yes.” Doctors have been talking about the potential link for nearly two decades and with good reason. Heart disease is a serious problem around the world, and so is poor oral health.  Doctors say that better brushing and flossing could help give you a healthier heart.

Scientists know that hardening of the arteries is an inflammatory process initiated by damage to the blood vessel walls. The body responds by forming ‘plaques’ along the vessel walls which makes it harder for blood to flow to your heart. ‘Plaques’ build up along the walls of blood vessels causing turbulent blood flow, in severe cases the entire vessel can be blocked leading to angina, heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is a serious condition caused by a number of factors including high blood pressure, high levels of ‘bad fats’ in the diet and also smoking.

Gum disease is also an inflammatory process. Swollen, red and bleeding gums are the main symptoms. When the gums are inflamed, the natural barrier between the mouth and the blood stream is weakened and bacteria can penetrate into our systems. When bacteria enter the bloodstream, this triggers inflammation in the body wherever there is blood flow – so anywhere.

Research over the years has continued to show an association between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Overall, maintaining a healthy mouth is beneficial for everyone. Keeping your gums and teeth healthy with regular brushing, flossing, and general care will help decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth and can help maintain your overall health.