Research suggests link between oral health and heart health
As part of February’s American Heart Month, and in an effort to
increase oral health awareness, the California Dental Association is encouraging you to
practice good oral hygiene habits to help keep your mouth and heart healthy.
Studies have demonstrated an association between periodontal diseases and cardiovascular
disease and stroke. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum
disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without.
While several theories exist to explain the link, it is believed that oral bacteria can affect the
heart by attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries, contributing to clot formation.
“Prevention is the key to a healthy mouth,” said CDA President Dan Davidson, DMD.
“Beyond the connection to your heart and overall health, good oral hygiene and regular dental
care is essential in preventing dental pain and reducing the risk of cavities and more serious
dental problems from developing.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans suffer more than 2
million heart attacks and strokes each year and cardiovascular disease including heart
disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease kills
roughly the same number of people in the nation each year as cancer, lower respiratory
diseases (including pneumonia), and accidents combined.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy and to help reduce the risk of heart disease, CDA
suggests a regular routine of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice
a day. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months and be sure to floss regularly,
exercise and eat a healthy diet. In addition, visit your CDA member dentist for a check-up
twice a year.
For more information on oral health issues, call your CDA-member dentist or visit cda.org.
About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized
dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in
service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of
Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDAís membership
consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American
Dental Association. For more information, visit cda.org.