The Connection Between Oral Health and Heart Health – Who Knew?
A recent topic that has come up, and been debated, in the world off all things health is if gum disease and heart disease are related and possibly even linked to each other. Though studies have been done, all conclusions made are just theories, no scientist has yet to prove that there is a distinct correlation between the two diseases. But here’s what scientist know for sure:
- Both diseases involve inflammation, the gums get inflamed when someone has a gum disease (such as gingivitis) and scientists have found that artery clogging and hardening due to plaque build up is actually an inflammatory process.
- Studies done show evidence that gum disease is truly a risk factor for coronary artery disease, (people with periodontal disease were up to twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease than those without periodontal disease) as well as diseases of the blood vessels and arteries that supply blood to the brain.
- “Bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood streams through the gums.”
- Here is what may be the most intriguing of all conclusions made though, one study showed that problems in the mouth such as gum disease, cavities and missing teeth (not missing baby teeth) “were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels were.”
And here’s what scientists are finding:
- The bacteria from the infected and diseased gums that leak into the blood system could cause the body to inflame in areas in response to the infection and bacteria. Since scientists know that hardening of the arteries is an inflammatory response, they theorize that the body’s response to the bacteria from diseased gums could be to harden the arteries, which could cause heart attacks.
Many theories have been made from the studies that uncovered this evidence, but even with such evidence there is not enough proof to say for certain that there are direct connections between gum disease and heart disease. But if you are at risk of heart disease take the regularly suggested precautions such as watching what you eat as well as your weight, and to get daily exercise, but with this new evidence, you might want to start taking oral health precautions more seriously as well.