Oral habits that put your heart at risk

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

Your heart is the most important part of your body. It pumps blood nonstop through all your organs from the day you are born till the day you die. So taking care of your heart with healthy habits should you a top priority.

Did you know that your oral habits also directly affect your heart? It is often said You are what you eat and yet we keep putting unhealthy things into our mouth without thinking of the consequences. Here are some oral habits that could affect your heart.

Smoking habits 

Smoking not only destroys your lungs but affects your mouth, windpipe, and heart as well. Cigarettes, bidis hookah have a high amount of nicotine which gives you a kick and gets you addicted. But this addiction forms tar on your lungs and decreases the oxygenation of your blood. This poorly purified blood then goes on to affect each and every system of your body and especially the heart.

Effects of smoking on your oral health

 The heat from the cigarettes damages the small blood vessels and reduces the blood supply to your gums. This causes your gums to appear dark and eventually pale due to pigmentation often called as the nicotine stain.

Tobacco chewing 

India is the oral cancer capital of the world. Gutka, supari, and mishri all forms of tobacco have been eaten by Indians for a long time. Chewing tobacco and spitting it out in public places is not only a nuisance but a health hazard.

Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure increases your chances of getting a stroke or a heart attack.

Effects of chewing tobacco on your oral health

Chewing tobacco irritates the soft tissues of the oral cavity and causes precancerous lesions which often even turn into cancer. Chewing tobacco or even gutka can reduce the amount of mouth opening. This happens because the muscles that help us chew our food become rigid and stiff.

Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol works by blocking normal signal in your brain and giving you a false sense of well being. Long term drinking increases your heart rate and gives you weakened heart muscles. Alcoholic drinks irritate your oral soft tissues and excessive drinking can give you ulcers and other lesions. 

Sugary drinks

Sugary drinks and artificial juices feel refreshing to drink but your body begs to differ. Often these drinks have very little vitamins and a lot of empty calories in form of sugar. This decreases the good cholesterol and increases the triglycerides in your blood leading to heart damage. The sweeteners stick to your teeth and give you cavities. Strong citric or carbonated drinks wear off your enamel making your teeth sensitive.

Binge eating that junk

Overeating is something we are all guilty of in today’s world. It is soo easy to gulp down that whole packet of chips or a big tub of ice cream while watching TV. This mindless eating leads to a lot of problems like obesity and acidity. Obesity stress out all your systems and puts a lot of pressure on your heart.

Acidity or acid reflux can cause heartburn which if left untreated for a long time leads to palpitations of the heart and can cause arrhythmia. Acid reflux often causes bad breath and literally erodes away the back of your teeth due to its strong acidic content. This erosion of teeth exposes the nerve endings causing severe sensitivity.

Be aware of your habits

Choosing your toothpaste wiselyThe mouth is the gateway to your heart. So take care of how you treat your mouth and teeth and the heart will take care of itself. Remember to brush twice a day with a good fluoridated toothpaste and floss regularly to keep your teeth and heart healthy. 

“Love your teeth to love your heart”

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Author Bio: Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.

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