In a world overwhelmed by the treatment and prevention of heart disease, almost everyone is becoming familiar with medical terms such as HDL, Triglycerides and LDL. There is, however, one other thing that could significantly reduce your risk for heart disease—GOOD ORAL HYGIENE.
Although it is not usually written in all caps, that could change considering a recent study showing that common problems in the mouth such as cavities and gum disease were as good at predicting heart disease as were cholesterol levels. The American Academy of Periodontology also found that those with gum disease were nearly twice as likely to have heart disease.
Oral Diseases Are Infections
Although the mechanism of tying heart disease and other health problems to your teeth is not entirely understood, most experts agree that there are a few ways an unhealthy mouth can make you sick. First, oral diseases such as gingivitis are forms of infections. As such, the bacteria from these oral infections can actually spread throughout your body and begin to effect other areas.
Your Body’s Inflammatory Response
A second way infections can cause damage is by turning on your body’s inflammatory response to the attack. Inflammatory proteins are released as your immune system tries to kill the constant flow of bacteria into and around your tissues. Over time, these proteins send signals to the rest of your body contributing to a host of other inflammatory diseases. It is estimated that up to half of all disease has an inflammatory component.
The prevention and proper treatment of oral diseases can improve your quality of life and positively affect the rest of your health. Daily brushing and flossing is your first and most important step. Dental professionals can treat oral diseases with high rates of success but without a personal regimen of home care, oral disease returns quickly.
Consider checking out this list of good oral health tips both from Dr. Stephenson and other dentists nationwide to see what areas you can improve on. Most importantly though, consult with your local dentist to find a plan that will allow you to enjoy a lifetime of smiles and good health. And don’t forget to FLOSS.