What a fun-filled weekend! Lots of fun, lots of food, and lots of friends. This weekend was a lovely break from the normally healthy and studious routine. However, tomorrow I'm back to the grind. Two weeks of classes, then two weeks of exams, and then it will be fun-time yet again. :)
Why oral hygiene is important for heart health:
Poor oral hygiene can cause endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner layer of the heart and/or the the valves of the heart. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria located in the mouth. It is a neutral inhabitant of the mouth. However, if it has a chance to enter the blood stream--which it can through mouth surgery, ulcers, gum disease, etc--it can become pathogenic (i.e.disease causing). Staph aureus has affinity for the tissue of the heart, so if it is able to enter the blood stream, eventually it will make its way to the heart (as all blood passes through the heart eventually) and there can attack the heart tissue and its valves. It can cause a heart infection (endocarditis).
With that said, it is not as simple as I just described. I cut the inside of my mouth far too often (due to flossing), and as far as I know, my heart is not infected. I think if you have really poor oral hygiene (as in not brushing teeth daily, this would allow staph aureus levels to really build-up) as well as predisposing factors, such as cardiac problems, old age, frequent or extensive dental surgeries, or a weakened immune system, then there is a higher chance of developing endocarditis.
As a result of the heart-mouth bacteria connection, a good dentist should inquire into his/her patients' heart health.
Image source here.