WE KNOW THAT OUR PATIENTS WANT TO take the best care of their hearts, right? Considering all it does for us, we figure keeping it healthy is the least we can do. Most of the time heart care brings up thoughts of routine exercise and healthy eating, but did you know that your toothbrush can help out too? There are a number of recent studies that suggest gum disease, and other oral health issues, are directly related to heart problems.
There has been a recent study done by the American Academy of Periodontology that reported 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 have been as good at predicting heart disease as bad cholesterol levels.
While these are new studies, and there is still a lot more we can learn about the connections, every time new evidence comes up it continues to point in the same direction. We have known that bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream through your gums. Through research, these same bacteria have been found clumped up in artery plaques. This means that it is highly possible 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 being determined, but today’s research continues to conclude that there’s definitely a connection. Of course, don’t just focus on brushing and ignore all of the other things you can do to keep your heart healthy. 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 with a visit at Oxford Valley Dental Excellence, be sure to do that too! Always remember that prevention goes a long way in avoiding problems in the future.