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May 23, 2019  
HEART NEWS: Feature Story

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    Healthy Gums for a Healthy Heart

    July 31, 2011

    Written for Heart1 by Michelle Alford

    Gum disease affects more than just your mouth. Recent studies show that gum disease is a major component in the development of circulatory system diseases, including heart disease and stroke. By regularly brushing and flossing, you can decrease your likelihood of having a heart attack and prolong your life.

    Your mouth is home to many types of bacteria, some helpful, some harmful. Bacteria cells join together and form a biofilm called plaque. When not properly managed, the plaque hardens and turns to tartar, leading to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

    Take Action
    Improve Heart Health Through Oral Health
  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Floss at least once a day 
  • Gargle mouthwash for at least 30 seconds a day 
  • Visit a dentist at least once every six months 
  • Once bacteria has infected the gums, it’s simple for it to travel into the blood stream, negatively affecting the circulatory system. Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than those with healthy mouths, but scientists are not yet certain why. The most prevalent theory is that the bacteria attaches to plaque in the arteries and contributes to blood clots. It’s also possible that the bacteria damages artery walls or causes inflammation and swelling of the arteries.

    All three of these would obstruct normal blood flow and decrease the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the heart and brain, leading to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.

    Simple oral care greatly decreases your risk of heart disease and improves your overall health. By brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, gargling mouth wash, and regularly visiting a dentist, you are keeping both your mouth and body clean. As little as ten minutes of daily dental care can help you lead a long and healthy life. 

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    Last updated: 31-Jul-11

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