You may already know that brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for maintaining good oral health. But did you know that poor oral health can also have an impact on your overall health, particularly your heart? Research has found a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that infect the gums and cause inflammation. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss. Researchers believe that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can also travel through the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the heart’s vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease.
One theory suggests bacteria can travel to blood vessels, causing inflammation and damage. This can lead to tiny blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. This idea is supported by finding remnants of oral bacteria within atherosclerotic blood vessels far from the mouth. Antibiotic treatment has not proven effective at reducing cardiovascular risk.
Another theory suggests that it’s not the bacteria but the body’s immune response to them that sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain. A third theory suggests that there may be no direct connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease and that a third factor, such as smoking, could be a risk factor for both conditions.
A study published in 2018 is among the largest to look at the link between poor oral health and heart disease. Researchers analyzed data from nearly a million people who experienced more than 65,000 cardiovascular events (including heart attack) and found that after accounting for age, there was a moderate correlation between tooth loss (a measure of poor oral health) and coronary heart disease. However, the connection largely disappeared when smoking status was considered, suggesting that poor oral health does not directly cause cardiovascular disease.
Despite this, it’s still essential to maintain good oral health to reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, you should schedule regular checkups with your dentist to catch any potential problems early.
The link between poor oral health and overall health may not be limited to cardiovascular disease. Studies have also found a link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a bacterium called porphyromonas gingivalis and the risk of pancreatic cancer. While more research is needed to understand these associations fully, it’s clear that good oral health is crucial for overall health and well-being.
Dr. Salim Kapadia Dental Centre is a leading dental clinic in Scarborough dedicated to providing top-notch oral care to all our patients. We are committed to providing dental care to all our patients at the highest level. If you’re looking for a dental clinic that genuinely cares about your oral health, book an appointment with us today: https://drsalimkapadiadental.com/online-appointments/