Heart Health

Many studies have shown a connection between gum disease.

A healthy smile can be good for your heart.

It’s not proven that taking care of your teeth and gums prevents heart disease. But there seems to be a connection between oral health and heart disease.

In 2012, the American Heart Association concluded that poor oral health hasn’t been proved to cause heart disease — and that treating existing gum disease hasn’t been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. But, a number of studies have shown that gum disease (periodontitis) and other serious conditions are a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and that people with chronic gum disease have increased thickness of their neck blood vessels. In addition, there is also a strong correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from professional teeth cleanings.

RELATED: Periodontal Disease and Heart Health

So even though there is not a proven link between oral and heart health, Dr. Susan Cope says your mouth can hint at possible problems. Why chance it?

It’s easy to take care of your mouth and avoid any potential risks to your heart with good preventative care. Plus, you’ll get a great smile! Of course, if you’re concerned about heart disease prevention, ask your doctor about proven ways to reduce your risk — such as stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.