Poor Oral Health Can Affect Cardiovascular Health
Mar 25, 2022
Oral health is important and not just for keeping your teeth healthy. Oral health is also connected to your overall health and the health of other systems within the body. Poor health elsewhere in the body can impact oral health and vice versa. Recent studies have found that poor oral health is also connected with cardiovascular health and cardiovascular disease.
How Is Oral Health Linked to Cardiovascular Disease?
Researchers discovered that the bacteria in the mouth that causes gingivitis, called streptococcus sanguis, which can get into the bloodstream. Through the bloodstream, this bacteria can travel throughout the entire body and end up blocking blood vessels, which can in turn increase the risk of:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
What Else Contributes to Cardiovascular Disease?
Poor oral health isn’t the only factor that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. There are other factors, including:
- Older age
- Poor diet
- High blood pressure
What Causes Poor Oral Health?
Oral health can be affected by a variety of factors, from how well you brush your teeth to what you eat. These factors can include:
- Heart disease
- Sugary foods
- Sugary beverages
Some of the same lifestyle habits affect both cardiovascular health and oral health. For that reason, there are multiple theories regarding how the two are linked. Gingivitis bacteria entering the blood stream and impacting the blood vessels is a connection that will help to further study of the two types of health, but it is not necessarily the only theory.
What Other Theories Are There About the Link Between Oral and Cardiovascular Health?
Previous studies regarding the link between oral health and cardiovascular health have provided alternate theories about the connection between the two. One theory is that the inflammation of the blood vessels isn’t caused by oral bacteria but is instead caused by the immune system, which the theory states could cause a domino effect in the heart and the brain.
Another theory is that oral health and cardiovascular health aren’t actually linked at all. Instead, they often occur simultaneously because the poor diet and lifestyle choices that can increase the risk of one also increase the risk of the other.
What Are the Next Steps?
The study that linked cardiovascular disease with the gingivitis bacteria also noted that more research is needed. There isn’t currently a consensus as to what, exactly, connects the two types of health. However, the findings of this study contribute to the field of research and the ongoing discussion about the link.