It’s easy to see why February was chosen as Heart Month…all the promotions and advertising surrounding Valentine’s Day is a constant reminder of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the impact on the heart.  However, did you ever think about how good oral health impacts the heart? When I first heard about this assertion, I must admit, I was a little skeptical and decided to do a little more research on the topic.  As it turns out, I found several articles referencing the association between oral health and heart heart.  Here’s an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic website*:

Your mouth is normally teeming with bacteria.  Usually you can keep these bacteria under control with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing.  Saliva also is a key defense against bacteria and viruses.  It contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways.  But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection.

When your gums are healthy, bacteria in your mouth usually don’t enter your bloodstream. However, gum disease may provide bacteria a port of entry into your bloodstream.  Sometimes invasive dental treatments also can allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.  And medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth also may lead to oral changes, making it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.  Some researchers believe that these bacteria and inflammation from your mouth are linked to other health problems in the rest of your body.

Cardiovascular disease. Research shows that several types of cardiovascular disease may be linked to oral health.  These include heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke.  Although in some research periodontal disease seems to be associated with heart disease, more studies are needed before the link can be confirmed with certainty.

*http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001

How are you showing your support for Heart Month?  Please share some of your stories by leaving a comment below this post.

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