Heart Health and Dental Health Are Closely Linked. What Do You Need to Know?

Posted on

Nov 15, 2019

As any dental health professional will tell you, healthy teeth and a healthy heart are closely related. A number of recent studies have reinforced the concept that gum disease and tooth loss can increase the risk of developing heart disease and coronary artery disease. This doesnt mean that good oral health will prevent heart disease, but poor oral health could actually increase the risk.
How are they connected?
Researchers dont know how the heart and dental health are connected not yet but there are a number of theories. Most of them are centered around inflammation. Once the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease enter the blood stream, they can travel throughout the body, causing inflammation of the blood vessels and tiny blood clots all over the body, including the vessels in the heart and brain. Heart attacks and strokes are just two of the possible results. And unfortunately, treatment with antibiotics has not proven to be effective at reducing this elevated cardiovascular risk.
Its also possible that it is not the bacteria itself, but the bodys reaction to it the inflammation that is the culprit, setting off a cascade of damaging effects to blood vessels, including vessels in the brain and heart.
Its difficult to draw clear any indisputable connections between oral health and heart health because there are so many other factors involved. Some of these factors, including smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise, are well established and agreed upon. But research into the dental connection to heart disease is continuing, and the evidencehas become far more persuasive.
There are other health risks possible, too
There is growing evidence that poor oral health may be connected to other conditions as well. Studies have linked periodontal disease to rheumatoid arthritis.
One thing is certain: you only have one body, and its many systems are interconnected in many, many ways. Good oral health brushing daily, regular flossing, and regular checkups are a good idea all by themselves, and theres no question that good oral health not only preserves your smile but adds to your overall quality of life.
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Dr Fred Guerra. Dr Guerra is adentist with Guerra Dental and may be reached at719-596-1230 or by email atoffice@guerradental.com

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