By now, most people are aware that coronary heart disease is linked to 5 basic risk factors -- smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But as scientists delve deeper, they are finding an even more complex disease process. Inflammation and infection in the body are key players in narrowing the arteries, and that "hardening" can cause a heart attack.
Recent findings add another risk to the mix. If your gums aren't healthy, then your heart may be suffering along with your teeth. Studies have found that people with gum disease are much more likely to develop heart disease. The link is not easy to prove, as people who have bad brushing & flossing habits may also tend to eat junk food or smoke, but the link definitely makes sense. Because gum disease is an infection, and infection causes inflammation, chronic inflammation plays a role in the build-up off fatty plaques that cause hardening of the arteries.
Experts in this field recommend that if you have gum disease and ONE other cardiac risk factor, you should get a medical evaluation. If you already KNOW you have heart disease, contact your dentist and keep up with your routine hygiene visits. An improvement in your oral health can help improve your heart health! Happy Spring everyone!!