When people think of ways to prevent heart disease and stroke, increasing exercise and changing diet are at the top of the list. Spending hours on the treadmill and money on expensive memberships, and a shelf full of healthy cookbooks may no longer be the only preventative measures you should be taking to protect your heart. Studies show that one of the most effective weapons against dangerous heart conditions is your toothbrush. The American Academy of Periodontology has found that gum disease almost doubles your chances of developing heart disease. The condition of your mouth is almost as important as checking cholesterol levels to predict heart disease and stroke.

How can my oral health affect my heart?

The increased levels of plaque present in those with heart disease exposes the body to potentially dangerous levels of bacteria. Bacteria that is harboured in the gums and teeth when gum disease is present can travel through the gums and into the bloodstream.

Once in the bloodstream, bacteria can travel to your heart and start to accumulate among the fatty plaques that cause blockages. Experts believe that this may increase the rate at which blockages occur in arteries and could lead to stroke. Findings also suggest that fatty deposits can develop in the carotid arteries of the neck due to the presence of oral bacteria. These deposits can break off and cause a blockage, leading to a decrease in blood flow to the brain and result in a stroke. In addition, the presence of excess bacteria could lead to an inflammatory response in which swelling occurs within the blood cells, resulting in the narrowing of an artery or an increase in blood clots.

Excellence in Dentistry can help your heart

Because gum disease could be an indicator of the presence of heart disease, having Excellence in Dentistry examine your oral health is a great preventative measure to lower your risk of having a stroke. Unlike checking cholesterol or hardening of the arteries, the presence of gum disease and the condition of your oral health is visible to the naked eye. This makes it even more important to schedule an exam with Excellence in Dentistry to diagnose and treat your gum disease. Call us today and help us help your heart.