You may know the lyrics to the healthy heart song: eat right, exercise, lose weight, quit smoking. Ever heard the verse that goes "brush and floss regularly?"
For years, researchers have been studying the connections between oral health and cardiac health. They've known that bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream during dental procedures and cause serious heart infections in people with heart defects or artificial valves.
More recently, multiple studies have shown connections between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. They include links between higher rates of periodontitis, tooth loss and other oral problems to increased risk factors for coronary artery disease, thickened carotid arteries and other types of cardiovascular disease. Despite the numerous connections and multiple studies, cause and effect relationships are harder to identify. Can gum disease give you a heart attack? Tough to say.