The Relationship Between Oral Health and Heart Disease

Oral health is more than just having a bright smile and fresh breath. It’s increasingly recognized as a vital component of overall health, particularly about heart disease. Dr. Hugh Brad Dickey of Dickey Dental in Rockhill, SC, emphasizes the importance of oral hygiene for dental well-being and cardiovascular health.

The Oral-Systemic Connection

The mouth is often considered the gateway to the body. Poor oral hygiene can lead to the proliferation of harmful bacteria, which may enter the bloodstream and contribute to heart disease. This connection highlights the need for comprehensive dental care.

Inflammation and Infection

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition. Studies have shown that the inflammation caused by gum disease can increase the risk of heart disease. The bacteria from infected gums can travel through the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis—a significant risk factor for heart attacks.

The Role of Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental exams and cleanings at Dickey Dental can help prevent gum disease. By maintaining good oral hygiene, patients can reduce the risk of heart disease. Dr. Hugh Brad Dickey recommends routine visits to detect and treat dental issues early.

Impact of Poor Oral Health on Heart Valves

Infective endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining, can occur when bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream. This condition is especially dangerous for people with existing heart conditions. Maintaining oral health through preventive care can help mitigate this risk.

Oral Health Practices for Heart Health

  1. Daily Brushing and Flossing: Proper brushing and flossing remove plaque and reduce bacterial buildup.
  2. Healthy Diet: A diet low in sugar and high in fruits and vegetables supports both oral and heart health.
  3. Avoiding Tobacco: Tobacco use is a major risk factor for gum disease and heart disease.

Protect Your Heart Through Your Mouth

Understanding the link between oral health and heart disease underscores the importance of regular dental care. At Dickey Dental, we offer comprehensive services, including dental exams and cleanings, to help you maintain both oral and heart health. Take charge of your health today by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Hugh Brad Dickey.


  1. American Heart Association
  2. Mayo Clinic
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention