Oral Health and Heart Health
There has been much speculation in recent years about effective brushing and flossing habits and their link to having a healthy heart. Although we’ve heard much about it, it’s not really clear what the link is, and what that means for you.
We’re here to help you sort through it!
The majority of research centers around periodontal disease, or as we more commonly know it, gum disease. This happens when bacteria in our mouth forms a hard plaque that can’t be cleaned by brushing our teeth, which is called tartar. There are many forms of gum disease, from a common inflammation to more serious damage of the soft tissue and bones around our teeth.
There are several risk factors for gum disease:
- Age. This happens more commonly in people over 65.
- Tobacco use. Smoking and chewing tobacco puts you at a higher risk.
- Poor nutrition. Missing important nutrients can leave your gums in bad shape.
- Diabetes. This can worsen the condition of your gums.
- Genetics. Some people can naturally be more susceptible.
- Medications. Many can cause dry mouth, meaning it’s easier for bacteria to grow.
What studies have found so far are that gum disease is a risk factor for:
- Coronary artery disease
- Blood vessel and artery diseases
- Difficulty controlling blood sugar
Gum disease and other mouth-related problems, such as cavities and missing teeth, have been found to be successful at predicting the likelihood of heart disease, showing a link between good oral hygiene habits and your health.
Prevention is truly the best medicine, so not smoking, being sure you get necessary nutrients, and brushing and flossing regularly are your best weapons to fight against gum disease and keep your heart healthy.