dental hygiene

A new South Korean study has revealed that the risk of heart failure in those with Type 2 Diabetes can be reduced with better dental hygiene. These findings highlight the significant link between dental wellness and cardiovascular health.

Here, we’ll explore the link between oral hygiene and heart failure in diabetes patients, and ways to help protect your heart health.

Understanding the results of the latest study

The recent study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, included over 173,000 adults in South Korea, each living with Type 2 Diabetes.

Findings revealed that nearly a quarter of the patients were grappling with periodontal diseases. These often resulted from infections and inflammation of the gums and bones supporting the teeth.

The study highlighted that those with periodontal diseases were more likely to experience tooth loss and needed regular dental visits. Worryingly, over 3,300 participants from the study eventually developed heart failure.

Those who had 15 or more missing teeth had a 37% higher chance of developing heart failure compared to those with a full set of teeth.

The link between dental hygiene and heart failure

The connection between dental hygiene and heart failure is rooted in the behaviour of bacteria residing in our mouths, especially when gum disease is present. These bacteria can infiltrate the bloodstream, travel to the heart, and directly infect the vulnerable heart valves.

This is especially concerning for those with artificial heart valves. Infections in the bloodstream that impact the heart valves are serious and require immediate medical attention.

Dental hygiene tips for a healthy heart

A healthy heart, especially when you have Type 2 Diabetes, begins with maintaining optimal oral health. The prevention and treatment of mild gum disease, or gingivitis, is crucial and relatively straightforward.

Regular dental hygiene appointments are essential in long-term preventative care, regardless of whether you have a history of heart disease.

Brushing and flossing at least twice daily and scheduling dental check-ups every six months is key to protecting your dental health.

The warning signs of gum disease include red, swollen, or tender gums, bleeding during brushing, flossing, or eating hard food, receding gums, loose or separating teeth, and persistent bad breath. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist.

Once gum disease is effectively managed, the increased risk to your heart can decrease and potentially even return to normal.

The best way to stay on top of your heart health when you have Type 2 Diabetes, as well as attending your dental appointments, is to undergo regular cardio health screenings. Schedule an appointment with Dr Konrad Grosser to assess your heart health today.