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Keep your heart healthy with better oral care

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. About 695,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and research has found a link between this disease and gum health.

What does heart disease have to do with oral health?

Having gum disease can triple the risk of a heart attack. While the specific link between poor oral health and heart disease isn’t certain, current theories include:

  • The bacteria that cause gum disease travel to the blood vessels, causing inflammation and damage. This damage may eventually lead to heart disease.
  • The body’s immune response to oral disease may result in inflammation that leads to vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart.

Can my dentist help me?

Yes. More than 90% of systemic diseases, including heart disease, have oral manifestations, according to a report from the U.S. Surgeon General. Not surprisingly, your dentist may be the first health care professional to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.

Visiting your dental office regularly for oral examinations allows your dentist to detect symptoms of serious conditions or overall health problems.

Prevention is the best medicine

Regular healthy habits can lower your risk of both gum disease and heart disease. If you already have one or both of these conditions, these strategies can also help you manage them.

  • Brush and floss regularly. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes twice a day and to floss once a day.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to avoid foods that are heavy on sugars and starches and choose those that are rich in essential nutrients (especially vitamins A and C).
  • Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products. These products can destroy your gums and increase your chance of heart disease. This includes vaping and smokeless tobacco products as well.


Last updated January 24, 2024

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.