February is American Heart Month. Sadly, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Did you know that there are some studies that suggest a link between oral health and heart disease? While the studies aren’t conclusive yet, many have shown that gum disease, in particular, can be associated with heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology, for example, found that those with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease.
Some of our hygienists recently attended a course on this possible link between heart disease and oral health in Boston. One possible reason for this connection is that bacteria from the mouth can enter into the bloodstream through the gums, the same bacteria found clumped in artery plaques. Of course, it’s too early to say that avid tooth brushing and flossing can prevent heart disease. But it certainly can’t hurt.