For this third day of heart health I’m focusing on the mouth! Not only do you want a kissable mouth for your Valentine, but you want a healthy mouth for your heart. Did you know that some studies show a possible link between oral health and heart health?
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that gum disease may be a risk factor for diseases of the blood vessels and arteries. The bacteria associated with gum disease in the mouth is the same kind of bacteria found in blood vessels showing signs of atherosclerosis, or fatty plaque. Another similarity between gum disease and heart disease is that both are caused by inflammation. Individuals with gum inflammation have a high C-reactive Protein count which is linked to heart disease as well.
While the correlation could be that people who brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly are more likely to take care of their hearts through a healthy diet and exercise, it’s hard to believe that’s the only link between heart health and oral health.
I once saw a sign in my dentist’s office reading, “You don’t have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.” After reading that sign I went from flossing most days a week to flossing every day. I also haven’t had a cavity since I started flossing more and using an electric toothbrush!
Make sure you have a clean and healthy mouth on Valentine’s Day and every day!