Heart disease and your oral health
Heart disease consists of a variety of health problems, such as coronary artery disease and heart failure.1 Many forms of heart disease involve a hardening or thickening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque. Over time, this buildup can make it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries – eventually creating blockages that can lead to heart attack or stroke.2
Gum disease and heart disease are each linked to increased inflammation in the body.3 The conditions share risk factors that include:
- Increased age
- Poor diet
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
While there is a proven association between gum disease and heart disease, there is not enough evidence to indicate whether one condition causes the other.3
Take steps to improve your oral and overall health
Regardless of what’s behind the link between heart disease and gum disease, no health professional will argue against the benefits of maintaining a healthy mouth. Good oral health can be achieved by taking better care of your teeth and gums at home and by visiting the dentist regularly. It’s also important to talk to your dentist about your medical history, including whether you have a heart condition or a family history of heart disease.
For a brochure about oral health and heart disease that you can download, go here.
By following a healthy lifestyle and addressing the common risk factors of both diseases, you can help improve both your oral and overall health.
The TRICARE Dental Program has you covered
If you or an enrolled family member has been diagnosed with a chronic illness such as heart disease, the TDP Wellness Program provides additional dental benefits at no cost to you. Register to use TDP Wellness Program any time after your TDP effective date of coverage. Here’s how:
- Return to TDP’s home page and log in to My Account using your DS Logon
- Select “Manage My Wellness”
- Add your medical condition
With the TDP Wellness Program’s enhanced benefits you’ll get full coverage for additional periodontal services, including scaling and root planing as well as some surgical procedures, at no additional cost. For details and limitations, view the TDP handbook and supplement.
1 Heart Disease Definition; Mayo Clinic; July 2014
2 What is Cardiovascular Disease? American Heart Association; January 2017
3 Dental Health and Heart Health; American Heart Association; December 2013
4 "New" Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease; American Dental Association; October 2015