Why Bad Oral Hygiene Could be Killing Millions of Americans

Written by Taylor DiGiro

December 10, 2018

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. Dagmara Dimitriou

According to the National Centre for Health Statistics, heart disease is the biggest killer in the United States. This year it will take nearly 50,000 more lives than cancer, more than ten times as many lives as accidents, and around 8 times as many as diabetes.

We’ve all had the causes of heart disease drummed into us. We know that if we smoke, drink, eat fatty foods and get very little exercise then our chances of having a heart attack or stroke increase significantly, but there is another warning sign that the average citizen doesn’t know about. 

Recently, a number of links have been found between poor oral hygiene and an increased risk of cardiac arrest.

The question is, is there anything more than just correlation at play here and is this something we need to worry about?

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Gum Disease and Heart Disease

The idea that oral health is connected to cardiovascular health is not new and has existed for nearly 100 years. The problem is, it’s not something that can be easily proved or disproved. 

According to one study, people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. Another noted that these two conditions trigger very similar effects, and that periodontal disease may be an even greater risk factor for coronary heart disease than high cholesterol.

When you consider that more than 200 million Americans are said to have some form of periodontal disease, you begin to understand just how big the ramifications could be.

But correlation doesn’t imply causation. It doesn’t seem too presumptuous to suppose that someone who neglects their oral health would also neglect their cardiovascular health. We also know that excessive smoking, drinking and consumption of sugary foods can have an adverse effect on both oral and cardiovascular health.

It could simply be that someone who cannot afford good dental care also cannot afford the medications, treatments and lifestyle choices needed to beat heart disease. 

So are these concerns unfounded or is there something to them?

Our electric toothbrush heads are designed with oral hygiene in mind.

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Can Gum Disease Kill You?

If there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease then it will likely be the result of oral bacteria. Whenever you chew, brush your teeth or even take a drink, you are releasing bacteria from your gums and your mouth and swallowing them. From there they can get into your bloodstream and may block your arteries. 

It might sound far-fetched, but it actually makes perfect sense. We know that the things we consume on a daily basis can have a significant impact on our health as their work their way through our bodies. And if you are constantly consuming bad bacteria it stands to reason that your health will suffer from it. 

What’s more, the same bacteria that causes gum disease has been found in the plaque that blocks the arteries of people with coronary heart disease. The suggestion here is that it may not be the only cause, but it will add to the problem. And as stated at the outset of this guide, it’s a problem that is already killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

One study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that patients with periodontal disease and one of several conditions (including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a history of strokes) spent 10% to 40% less on their medical bills over the course of a year when they had just 1 periodontal treatment.

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The Truth About Gum Disease and Heart Disease 

The truth is, there is not enough evidence out there to suggest that gum disease can definitely cause heart disease, but there is certainly enough to be concerned. And when you consider how easy it is to maintain good oral hygiene, the solution seems pretty obvious.

So, look out for the symptoms below, make sure you do everything to prevent and cure them and if a direct link is found between gum disease and heart disease you’ve already been through the prevention so you won’t need to worry about the cure.

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Gum Disease Symptoms

You may experience some or all of the following if you have gum disease: 

  • Bad breath
  • Bright red/pink gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Swelling of the gums
  • Tooth loss


Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal gum disease cannot be cured, but it can be treated, and other, less severe, forms of gum disease can be cured.

  • Get checked over by your dentist regularly
  • Brush your teeth regularly
  • Floss daily
  • Use a mouthwash created for patients with gum disease

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Once you have gotten rid of the problem then you can focus on looking good, because the better you look the better you feel and the more inclined you will be to keep looking after your teeth. So, grab our At-Home SNOW Teeth Whitening system to get those stubborn layers of plaque from the surface of your teeth and bring out their natural shine.

Take our quiz to find out what's staining your teeth!

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