Dental Health and Heart Health
There’s no question that regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups can keep your mouth healthy. But if you fall short on your hygiene routine, can gum disease actually cause heart disease?
There’s no conclusive evidence that preventing gum disease — periodontitis — can prevent heart disease or that treating gum disease can lessen atherosclerosis, the buildup of artery-clogging plaque that can result in a heart attack or stroke, according to an American Heart Association statement.
“The mouth can be a good warning signpost,” said Ann Bolger, M.D., William Watt Kerr Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk but their heart and blood vessels, too. But whether one causes the other has not actually been shown.”
Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Although these shared risk factors may explain why diseases of the blood vessels and mouth can occur simultaneously, some evidence suggests that there may be an independent association between the two diseases.
While the research is ongoing, seeing your dentists regularly, flossing and brushing twice daily, along with other healthy lifestyle choices including diet, exercise, not smoking and keeping your weight at a healthy level will all contribute to a better health. It is important to consult your health care professional for specific recommendations as every individual is different.
For more information visit: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/healthy-teeth-healthy-heart
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