Heart health


Healthy teeth for a healthy heart

The importance of oral hygiene is gaining increased attention as we learn more about the connections between taking care of your teeth, mouth and gums and overall health. The mouth is a mirror of the body, often reflecting signs of systemic diseases. It can reveal nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy habits and many oral diseases share common risk factors with non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases[1].

The reason for the particular link between heart health and oral health is still being debated, but scientists have two possible explanations: one is that the bacteria behind periodontal disease can also release toxins into the bloodstream, helping form fatty plaques in the arteries, leading to restricted blood flow. The second explanation is that the bacteria cause the liver to make high levels of certain proteins, which inflame the blood vessels.

Whatever the reason though, the lesson is the same: oral health clearly goes beyond a nice smile and may even play a role in overall health. It’s therefore critical that everyone take simple steps such as brushing twice daily for two minutes to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.

The following are a list of the main symptoms of periodontal disease, and if you are concerned, see your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth come together when you bite down.[2]

For more information on oral health, visit Healthy teeth, Healthy heart?, or the website of World Oral Health Day, which is celebrated every year on March 20.


[1]The Challenge of Oral Disease – A call for global action - See more at: http://www.fdiworldental.org/publications/oral-health-atlas/oral-health-atlas-(2015).aspx#sthash.UxxMD9MY.dpuf


[2] Web MD (2015) Healthy heart, healthy teeth? Available at: http://www.webmd.boots.com/oral-health/guide/healthy-teeth-healthy-heart?page=2

Sep 23, 2016