Links Between Gum Disease And Heart Disease
If you are like most people, you want to take the very best care of your heart, right? Of course you do! Did you know that your little, lowly toothbrush may rank right up there with your gym membership in keeping your heart healthy? There are a number of recent studies that suggest gum disease—and other oral health issues—are DIRECTLY related to heart problems.
In a recent American Academy of Periodontology study, it’s reported that people who have periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. Another study found that common oral health problems, including missing teeth, gingivitis, and/or cavities are as good at predicting heart disease as are bad cholesterol levels! Are you surprised?
While there’s still a LOT MORE to learn about these connections, the evidence seems to be mounting each year. We know that bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream through your gums. These same bacteria have been found clumped up in artery plaques. One theory that is gaining more acceptance is that they stick to the fatty plaques in your bloodstream, which can directly contribute to blockages.
There are other theories that revolve around your body’s defenses against bacteria, including the natural response of inflammation. Oral bacteria traveling through your bloodstream can cause blood cells to swell, which can lead to narrowing of arteries and clot risks.
The EXACT relationships between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease are still unclear, but today’s research continues to conclude that there’s definitely a connection. Of course, DON’T ignore all of the other things you can do to keep your heart healthy, while just focusing on brushing! Keep eating healthy foods, exercise regularly, and take care of risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
And, when it’s SO EASY to clear up any periodontal disease problems before they get serious, be sure to do that too! It makes good common sense! And don’t forget that PREVENTION goes a long way in preventing problems in the future.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask a Crown Council Dentist. We love visiting with you—our friends and patients.
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