It is no secret that having a healthy diet and doing exercise help us maintain our heart in perfect condition. But do you know that keeping a clean mouth also helps to have a healthy heart?
Maybe it does not sound logical, but there is a relationship between the two. According to studies, there is a link between poor dental health and cardiovascular disease.
“The lack of hygiene stimulates an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, which produces bacterial plaque that if not removed on time runs the risk of red and swollen gums that can bleed easily. This is what we call gingivitis,” explained dentist Rafael Balboa, who acknowledged that when gingivitis is left untreated or the treatment is delayed, the result is periodontal disease, which causes damage to tissues and bones around the teeth.
The findings indicate that the chronic presence of inflammation and infection are correlated with the presence of heart disease and atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries).
Because of the close relationship between both conditions, one wonders that if oral health is improved, can cardiovascular heath be improved too? The answer is yes according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In a group of patients, researchers at Columbia University in New York discovered that as the dental hygiene improved and the presence of bacteria in the mouth decreased, the narrowing of the arteries decreased too. On the other hand, for those whose oral health worsened, there was an increase in the narrowing of their arteries.
There is no clear understanding of how the bacteria living in our mouths contributes to the narrowing of the arteries; however, it is clear that by avoiding problems with our gums and the proliferation of infections, we will be taking care of our hearts.
Dr. Balboa emphasized the importance of prevention by developing good hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing, using mouthwash, and a visit to your dentist at least every six months. Doing so guarantees not only healthy teeth but also a healthy heart.