Morning Rounds: The connection between dental and heart health

NORFOLK, Va. - Studies have shown gum disease, poor dental health, and tooth loss patterns are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.  News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light explained the connection between dental health and heart health on News 3 This Morning.

"A connection between dental hygiene and heart disease does exist, but additional research is needed," Dr. Light said. "Gum disease and tooth loss patterns are connected to an increased risk of heart disease, and an increase risk of infection in people who have had a heart valve replacement."

Dr. Light said research has show that gum disease increases the blood pressure and increases resistance to treatment.

"Patients who had gum disease in the study did not respond as well to blood pressure medications," he explained. "Gum disease causes chronic inflammation and stress on the body, subsequently increasing blood pressure."

Dr. Light said in addition to brushing twice daily, routine checkups with your dentist and cleanings every six months will reduce the risk of developing gum disease and improve one’s heart health.

"Dental health is an overall indicator of general health and how well someone takes care of their body," he said. "The effects of poor dental health can be improved with good oral hygiene which can reduce the risk heart disease."

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