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Heart Disease – do right by your mouth, do right by your heart.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, and since February is Heart & Stroke month, we thought we’d take a look at the link between oral health and cardiac health (i.e. your heart health). While there’s no direct link between oral health and heart disease the evidence suggests a correlation.

The research on heart disease and gum disease

Dentists and cardiologists have long debated the connection between looking after your mouth and looking after your heart. So far, there’s no direct evidence of one. But several studies revealed that the bacteria found in diseased gums is the same bacteria found in cases of atherosclerosis — the plaque build-up in blood vessels and arteries that leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Other studies found that people with gum disease have increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which leads to general inflammation in the body. If your CRP levels are high, your body has to work harder to pump blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease. So anything you can do to lower CRP levels is a good thing, and keeping a healthy mouth is one of the easiest ways to do that.

You’ll know if your gums are inflamed if you notice blood on your toothbrush or on your floss. Fortunately, a hyper-diligent oral care routine can reverse this inflammation in your mouth and subsequently lower your overall CRP levels.

Take a bite out of heart disease

Eat well. Don’t smoke. And be diligent with your oral care. Because the evidence shows that good habits beget good habits. People who look after their teeth are more likely to look after the rest of their bodies. So, if you brush and floss daily, you probably also exercise, eat your veggies and do everything you can to feel your best.

Valentine’s Day menu

If you’re planning to cook for the love of your life this year, keep healthy teeth and a healthy heart in mind. That means fish instead of meat, dark green veggies or orange veggies and no bread. We recommend a simple lemon pepper salmon with broccoli and carrots. And maybe stay away from garlic — it’ll probably put a damper on…um…dessert.