Poor dental hygiene (lack of brushing and flossing) can lead to other health problems not related to the mouth, including problems associated with the heart. Inflammation, which is the human body’s natural response to irritation, injury, or infection of tissue, has been shown to be a is a major risk factor for heart disease. While inflammation is meant to have a protective effect, untreated chronic inflammation can lead to more severe health complications. Both periodontal disease (severe, chronic gum disease) and cardiovascular disease are inflammatory diseases, and inflammation is the common factor that connects these two disease states.
Medical research is now showing that periodontal disease may increase the inflammation level throughout the body. Since several studies have shown that patients with periodontal disease have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and The Journal of Cardiology have developed clinical recommendations for periodontists (dental specialist with training in diagnosing, preventing and treating gum disease), dentists, cardiologists, and internists.
This is why it is so important to practice good oral hygiene at home, including a twice daily routine of brushing and once daily regimen of flossing. By sustaining this habit of cleaning at home, you will keep the level of harmful bacteria low, thereby reducing the load on your immune system and resulting inflammation.