A bright, shining smile can give you confidence in your appearance and let you laugh with no reserves. But poor oral health can affect more than your smile. Oral health issues like cavities and untreated tooth decay could lead to periodontal disease. A study by the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
If you let an untreated cavity live in your mouth for too long, it can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease causes your gums to recede from your teeth, which creates a gap beneath the gum line where bacteria can hide and grow.
From this gap, bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart’s arteries. If the bacteria in your heart’s arteries harden, it can cause a condition called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis causes plaque to grow on the inner walls of your heart’s arteries, which can restrict blood flow throughout the body. And restricted blood flow to and from your heart is the catalyst for heart disease.
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to a gum infection.
Infected gums can be red, sensitive, and may bleed during brushing, flossing, or during a dental cleaning.
This type of bleeding could trigger a rare but serious heart condition called endocarditis. Endocarditis develops when bacteria from infected gums spreads to the inner lining of the heart
Bacterial growths in your heart’s inner lining can prevent your heart’s valves from working properly. And when your valves aren’t working efficiently, you’re at a heightened risk of heart attack.
Along with practicing a good oral hygiene regiment at home, you can reduce your risk of endocarditis by telling your doctor or dentist about any health changes that could affect your heart health, including heart and blood complications or new medications.