February is American Heart Month, and studies show a link between the bacteria in your mouth and your heart health. The American Dental Association reports that the same bacteria that cause gingivitis can also cause conditions leading to heart attack and stroke. If you have dental health issues like gum disease or tooth decay, it's easy for that bacteria to enter your bloodstream and threaten your heart.
Your dentist should ask before doing work on your mouth, but it's important to disclose heart issues you have. Talk about medications you're taking for cardiovascular conditions and give your dentist contact info for your cardiologist so they can communicate about your care.
The basics--brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist every six months--still are the best way to head off health issues due to poor dental hygiene.