Your heart might be keeping a secret…
Could it be that your gums are silently suffering, and your heart is secretly feeling the effects? Or are you staying on top of the threat of gum disease with frequent visits to your dentist, great habits, or a treatment plan for improving gum health? The gum – heart disease link: You’ve probably heard the rumors that there is some type of link between heart disease and gum disease. What are the facts? A lot of research has been completed on the link between gum disease and heart disease. A sensible speculation is that people with healthier gums might take better care of their teeth and overall bodily health, thus they are more prone to exercise, watch their diets, and avoid unhealthy lifestyle choices. Bottom line, folks who have excellent oral hygiene are less likely to suffer from gum disease and those same people typically practice other healthy habits, maintaining healthy hearts. It could be that simple, and some experts stand by that theory.
Other experts suggest that the secret link between gum health and heart health could simply be associated with a person’s tendency to experience inflammation. Inflammation of the arteries that leads to heart disease could be similar to the inflammation that certain patients experience with their gums, and it could be tied to genetics as much, or more than, oral hygiene alone. Of course, taking measures to floss, brush and care for your teeth helps control the growth of bacteria in reaction the inflammation of the gums.
This leads to the other speculation, that the bacteria in the mouth which are abundant when gums are unhealthy are somehow reaching the heart, and damaging it. Scientists and medical researchers have attempted to uncover that link. So what is all the research concluding? What are the facts? Is the secret revealed, or hidden amidst speculation and exploration of which came first – the ‘chicken’ or the ‘egg’? (In this case, gum inflammation or heart disease.)
The Gum – Heart Disease Question – Experts weigh in…
In an article we found on WebMD.com, experts narrowed the findings down to these facts:
- Bacteria found in both gum disease and diseased arteries are similar.
- Inflammation is another common denominator for both diseases. When people have moderate to severe gum disease, their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein that rises during whole-body inflammation, increase. CRP levels are also used to assess a person’s risk of a heart attack.
So, what does all of that mean? Is the secret to a healthy heart really having healthy gums?
For gum – heart disease question, it seems that the consensus is… no consensus. Dr. Sam Low, DDS, associate dean at the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville, and president of the American Academy of Periodontology, is quoted as saying the following:
“At this point, there is a consensus that we are still unaware of solid science to show a direct link [between heart health and oral health] with the exception of two areas.” – (The two ‘areas’ being the inflammation, and similar strains of bacteria.)
So, if you have gum disease, there is no real evidence that it could be damaging your arteries or heart. Still, everyone certainly needs to pay attention to both heart health and gum health, whether or not the two are linked. Speculations, inconclusive research, and facts aside, it’s just the right thing to do to take care of your teeth and gums. It seems that overall comfort and health are part of the equation when your mouth is healthy, plus the bonus of a great looking smile. While the link between heart disease and gum disease remains a mystery, it’s true that a bright smile can be the start of a great conversation, friendship, or romance! Maybe that’s the secret your heart is holding… taking care of your smile leads to happiness.
Source for information in this article: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/healthy-teeth-healthy-heart#1