What Does Flossing Have to Do with Heart Disease?

By | April 17, 2017

heart ekg on graph

We want our patients at Bobcat Dental to understand the ways that good oral hygiene can promote good health. After all, we truly believe a happy, healthy smile leads to a happy, healthy person. We like to tell our patients that their dental health is like a window into their overall health, because it is so indicative of other issues. With that in mind, today we want to talk about the possible link between gum disease and heart disease – and what you can do to limit your risk.

For decades, scientists have been wary of a possible link between gum disease and heart disease. The oral bacteria and inflammation that occur as a result of gum disease correlates with a greater risk for heart disease. Gum disease and heart disease also share many of the same risk factors, from smoking, to obesity, to high stress levels. If you’re worried you may be at risk, discuss this with Dr. Lee during your next appointment.

Inflammation

Inflammation, as it turns out, might be the root of all evil. Sore, swollen gums are an indicator of gum disease. Inflammation can lead to hardened arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow to your heart. This can put you at a greater risk for a heart attack or a stroke.

Oral Bacteria

Although there is no conclusive determination yet, a growing number of scientists believe that there is a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Evidence shows that the bacteria found in periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart. This oral bacteria can then contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. Many dentists recommend that patients with heart issues take antibiotics before their dental visits to mitigate the effects of bacteria in the bloodstream.

Flossing

Because brushing alone only cleans about 60% of your tooth’s surface, flossing is incredibly important in preventing the buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease. Because your flossing technique matters, Dr. Lee and your hygienist can give you a demonstration during your next office visit.

Along with regular visits to our office and good brushing habits, flossing is one of the most important preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from gum disease and limit your risk of heart disease. Bleeding gums, cavities, receding gums, and tooth loss can all occur as a result of gum disease! If you’re worried you might be at risk, contact our office today!