Is there really a link between oral health and heart disease?
For years, experts have debated whether there is actually a link between oral health and heart disease. Scientists have investigated this issue for several years but are yet to come to a solid conclusion whether gum disease has a direct link to heart disease (stroke and heart attacks).
Although as of now no solid evidence has been produced, experts are saying that it is likely that certain oral health problems – especially gum disease can have a very negative effect on the health of the heart.
For example, in 2012, the American Heart Association published an article in which they showed their support for the relation between gum disease and heart disease. Although the article didn’t categorically say that our oral health affects the health of our heart, it said that based on the results of the numerous studies conducted it is possible that there is a relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
In 2010, researchers from the University College London performed a major study into finding out whether oral health and heart disease are intertwined. At the end of the study, researchers said that they found that there is a direct connection between oral health and the health of our heart.
According to the researchers, their research saw them surveying a total of 11,000 adults. In the survey, the researchers said they noticed that the adults who practiced better oral hygiene had a lesser risk of heart disease than those adults who had poor oral health.
Why in the first place is it possible for gum disease to cause heart disease?
The reason why this is possible in the first place is because of the fact that people who practice poor dental hygiene end up suffering from gum disease experience a lot of bleeding from their gums. According to the experts, when the gum keeps bleeding, it creates a point of entry for certain types of harmful bacteria in the mouth to make their way into the bloodstream. Experts from the University of Bristol and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland say that when these harmful bacteria make their way into the bloodstream through an open blood vessel that comes as a result of a bleeding gum, it can increase a person’s risk of suffering from a heart disease such as heart attack or stroke.
So how is this possible?
You see, there are thousands of bacteria in the mouth, and when some of these bacteria in the mouth make their way into your bloodstream from gum disease, they interact with certain things in the bloodstream and cause the blood to clot inside your blood vessels. When the blood in the blood vessels becomes clotted, they partially block the vessels. And of course we all know that when there is a clot in the blood vessels, this will prevent the smooth flow of blood to the heart and lead to heart disease. The most common problem associated with this is heart attack and stroke.
So does poor dental hygiene really lead to heart disease?
Many studies conducted over the years into this have shown that gum disease is a risk factor for clogged arteries or the narrowing of the arteries. And the more our arteries become narrow or clogged, the higher our risks become of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.
Although the experts have still not come to a solid conclusion that poor oral health leads to heart disease, you should know that over the years many studies have shown that people who practice good dental hygiene have lesser risk of suffering from heart disease as compared to people who practice poor oral health and suffer from gum disease.
Is there really a direct link between dental health and heart disease? The debates and the investigation are still ongoing. Somehow I strongly believe that there is a strong link between the two and that you reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease if you take good care of your heart health and oral health.
You can avoid gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene, which involves doing the following things:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Flossing on a daily basis in order to remove food particles and other particles that get stuck between your teeth
- Putting an end to smoking tobacco, if you smoke
- Visiting your dentist’s office on a regular basis