White teeth model bites red heart on blue background.

Healthy Gums, Healthy Heart: Oral Care Prevents Heart Disease

If you don’t take care of your oral hygiene, you’re likely aware that it could lead to problems like tooth decay and gum disease. However, what if poor oral health could also lead to other, more serious problems inside your body? Research indicates that not taking care of your teeth can actually increase your risk of heart disease (among other conditions). So, what can you do to mitigate this link? Here’s what you need to know.

How Oral Care is Related to Heart Disease

Knowing that there’s a connection between poor oral hygiene and heart disease is one thing, but the most crucial element is why. Although the specifics of the situation can differ from one person to the next (based on their genetics and biology), some common theories include:

Traveling Bacteria

If you’ve ever had your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, you know that your mouth is connected to your cardiovascular system. So, as bacteria and viruses grow and thrive in your mouth, they can travel to the heart via your veins. Many of these bacteria can cause problems within the blood, such as clots or inflammation of the vessels.

Unfortunately, the bacteria themselves are not always easy to remove, as antibiotics don’t seem to have any positive impact on improved heart health.


Inflammation happens when your body’s autoimmune system triggers, sending white blood cells to an area to combat an invading disease or particle. Since the area needs more blood to fight the invasive element, swelling and inflammation occur.

So, if bacteria get into your bloodstream via the mouth (due to poor oral hygiene), they can trigger inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system. The more inflammation there is, the more stress your heart endures, which can lead to disease and other serious conditions.

Independent Risk Factors

In some cases, the link between poor oral health and heart disease may not be a straight line. Instead, there could be a third factor at play that is the primary cause of both conditions.

For example, if you’re a smoker, you have an elevated risk of both periodontal and heart disease. So, instead of one causing the other, both issues are created by a single source (smoking).

Similarly, those who have poor oral hygiene may also have poor access to healthcare. If you can’t afford to take care of your mouth, you likely won’t be able to take care of your heart, so both conditions can develop at the same time.

How to Take Care of Your Oral Health

Although poor oral hygiene won’t necessarily cause heart disease, it’s obvious that the risk factors are there. So, it’s imperative to take care of your oral health with these strategies:

  • Brushing and Flossing – It’s a cliche at this point, but brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day can minimize most oral health issues, including tooth decay, periodontal disease, gingivitis, and more.
  • Regular Checkups – If you haven’t been to the dentist in more than six months or a year, it’s past time to schedule a checkup. Dentists can clean your teeth and gums thoroughly and look for potential problems that may need fixing (i.e., cavities).
  • Avoiding Sugary Foods – A high-sugar diet can lead to a variety of health problems, not the least of which is poor oral hygiene. Eating or drinking too much sugar can lead to diabetes and heart disease, so it’s best to reduce your sugar intake as much as possible.

Tips on Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease

Although better oral health can go a long way toward reducing the risk of heart disease, there are many other factors at play, too. Some simple ways to improve your heart health include:

  • Eat More Natural Foods – Fruits and vegetables are often high in natural fiber, which helps clean your system, including your blood vessels.
  • Exercise – The best way to keep your heart in great condition is to exercise regularly (at least three or four times per week). Exercise helps improve your blood flow and strengthens the heart muscles so they work more efficiently.

Get Better Oral Health and Prevent Heart Disease With Twin Rivers Periodontics

Oral hygiene requires constant diligence, so it’s common for problems to arise. At Twin Rivers Periodontics, we’re here to help you take control of your oral health so you can have a brilliant smile and a healthy mouth. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.