According to the Heart Foundation, heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Studies also point to a link between gum disease and heart disease. There is also reason to believe that the swelling that hardens arteries in heart disease and the swelling that occurs in the gingival tissue for gum disease may be related. Experts know the bacteria and other inflammatory toxins below the gum line travel via vascular pathways in the mouth throughout the body, including to the heart. Reducing any amount of bacteria in the body, including that which is present in gum disease, will reduce the risk of heart disease. It is important to note that preventing gum disease alone will not rule out heart disease. However, improved oral health has been tied to better quality in overall health.