The Link Between Oral Health and Heart Attacks

While you may suspect they are unrelated to one another, there may be a link between oral health and heart attacks that you need to be aware of.

This sounds incredibly strange, but when we explain the science behind the relationship, you will understand.

Let’s start by quickly talking about oral health in general, starting with how your mouth works.

A Quick Look At The Mouth’s Microbiome

Our bodies have a digestive system, and in that digestive system is what is referred to as a microbiome. This is essentially an ecosystem or environment composed of different microorganisms.

When people take a probiotic, they are doing it to supplement their microbiome and improve things like digestion and overall gut health.

Well, our mouth actually has a microbiome of it’s own! As you may already know, digestion actually begins in our mouth. Of course, when we chew the food breaks down, but there is more to it.

Our mouth is filled with tons of different microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Before you start freaking out, these are actually the good guys. They help break down food for further processing.

How Oral Health Affects The Rest Of Your Body

Knowing what you know now about our oral microbiome, you can imagine issues may arise if conditions are off in our mouth.

Studies have shown that those with good oral health have better immune function, keeping the bad bacteria and illnesses from infiltrating your body.

In those with bad oral health, the opposite may be true. Bad bacteria has a far easier time using the sugar and starches you consume to multiply, and cause serious health issues to arise. And, unfortunately for those in question, this can affect your heart health.

Oral Health And Heart Attacks – How They’re Related

Some of the same bacteria that can cause gum disease can infiltrate your blood stream, eventually making their way to your heart.

This, coupled with plaque from your teeth, can cause serious inflammation, blood clots, and more narrow blood vessels. 

All of these things on their own are bad. But when combined into one perfect storm, they present a serious increase in risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Furthermore, long term effects won’t just lead to hypertension – they can actually  infect the inner lining of your heart. This leads to endocarditis, and is an entire issue of it’s own.

So, Take Good Care Of Your Oral Health

Now, we don’t say this to scare you. In fact, issues related to oral health and heart attacks or strokes are usually preventable!

Visit your dentist regularly to catch issues early before they have a chance to become irreversible. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly and avoid damaging foods and drinks with acidity and sugar.

If you just take good care of your oral health like you know you should, you won’t have to worry about it leading to other issues!

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Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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