Is There a Link between gum disease and heart health?
Heart disease is a serious problem especially for the ageing population. It is also observed that older people generally have poorer oral health such as decay and gum disease. So does a healthy mouth equate to a healthy heart? Can your dentist take a peek inside your mouth and see if you are at risk for heart disease?
More and more research says “yes”!
So, What’s the Link between the two?
In a word, inflammation.
Scientists know that inflammation leads to hardened arteries, also called atherosclerosis. This is a condition that makes it hard for blood to flow to your heart. It can put you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
Inflammation is also a sign of gum diseases. Sore and swollen gums allow bacteria and other toxins to spread past the gum line, into the blood circulation and reach other areas of your body, namely your heart.
Studies show that the bacteria found in periodontal disease are also detected in the bloodstream and spreads to the heart. In the absence of gum disease, there is significantly less of these bacteria in the heart.
Some research suggests that the more bacteria you have from gum disease, the thicker your main arteries may be. If they’re too thick, blood can’t flow to your brain. That can cause a stroke.
Other factors to Consider
While bacteria likely play a role in dental health and heart function, doctors say your lifestyle choices matter too.
“People with bad gum disease tend to have bad health habits in general,” experts say. “They may not be taking care of themselves very well. Some are not eating well, snacking often on high sugary food. They probably do not exercise often, and many are smokers. We know all of those things are some of the strongest predictors of heart disease.”
Brush Your Teeth, Boost Your Heart?
Brushing your teeth effectively reduces the level of bacteria in your mouth, which then minimises the risk of the bacteria travelling through the bloodstream to other vital organs.
So go ahead — brush your teeth a bit longer and floss a little more often. Everyone likes a clean and healthy mouth, and your heart just might love it, too！