WE KNOW THAT BEYOND THE ORAL CARE WE ARE INVOLVED IN, every one of our patients want’s to take good care of their body. Well, in addition to those New Year’s resolutions to visit the gym more often, did you know that your toothbrush can also help you keep a healthy heart? Yes, it’s true! According to Dr. Falter, “There are continuing and 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 quite a bit 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 now been found clumped up in artery plaques. This has led many people to the theory that these bacteria 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.
While research is continuing to find the exact correlations between gum disease and heart disease, the important thing to remember is that there is definitely a connection. Of course, don’t ignore all of the other things you can do to keep your heart healthy to focus 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 with a visit with Dr. Falter and his staff, be sure to do that too! It makes good common sense! Just like most other health issues, a little prevention now can go a long way in helping you avoid larger problems in the future.
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