The Heart of the Matter

Published 06/06/2024

Links Between Cardiovascular Health and Oral Health 

A visual report from CareQuest Institute explores the relationship between cardiovascular (heart) disease and periodontal (gum) disease, which are both extremely common in the US. Individuals with gum disease have two to three times the risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or a severe cardiovascular event.

Additional key points include:

  • Infected and unhealthy gums can increase the risk of developing infective endocarditis (IE), particularly among individuals with existing cardiovascular issues. This issue is of particular concern for children with a heart condition. 
  • Among children with a heart condition, about one in six have at least one sign of poor oral health.
  • Oral health is worse for children with a heart condition who also have an intellectual or developmental disability, live in poverty, or lack insurance.
  • Routine preventive dental care and regular brushing and flossing can reduce gum disease and the risk of related heart diseases.

The authors write that collaboration between dental and medical providers is critical to improving health outcomes.

With heart disease remaining the leading cause of death in the US, we must continue to consider the role of our oral health in the health of our hearts.

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