Smile Your Way To A Healthier Heart

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Want a healthy heart? Start with your smile!

There are a number of studies that suggest that oral health and gum disease are related to serious conditions like heart disease.

The link between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease hasn’t been pinpointed, however, there is strong evidence that the two do, indeed, have a connection. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. One study found that the presence of common oral problems such as gingivitis, cavities and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

The culprit seems to lie in the way oral bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. It begins when the bacteria of gum disease enters the bloodstream through gum tissues weakened by gum disease.

Inflammation in the body is a normal, healthy reaction, to an extent. For example, when you cut yourself, pro-inflammatory hormones in the body recruit white blood cells to battle infection and damaged tissue. Normal inflammation of pain, redness, and swelling are indications that your immune system is acting appropriately. As healing progresses, the inflammation subsides.

However, when inflammation is turned on and remains that way, it is like being on fire from the inside out. Symptoms of inflammation that don’t recede mean your immune system is in continual fighting mode. What began as a healthy reaction to protect your body is now stuck in the ‘on’ position. The inflammation has now gone from a healthy reaction to a damaging presence.

Precisely how oral bacteria triggers an inflammatory response is still under the microscope. Until more is known, take every measure to ensure your oral health is excellent. Brush and floss, eat a healthy diet, drink lots of water, have dental check-ups and cleanings every six months, and tend to oral problems promptly, such as crowning cracked teeth or repairing cavities.

Think of your mouth as the opening to your entire body, because it is! Make a healthy smile a priority to reduce your risk of chronic inflammation in the body so your smile goes all the way to your heart!

Call (828) 274-9440 if you have not had regular dental care and wish to develop a ‘clean slate’ for lasting oral wellness! Your smile and your heart will thank you!

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