Confusion About Heart Health and Oral Health Links

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012, 6:47 pm

In the past week there have been a couple of research studies published which add to the confusion surrounding the link between oral health and heart health. A study last week in the American Heart Association publication Circulation stated that there was no “causative link” between gum disease and heart disease and that treating gum disease did not improve heart health.

Then there was the study of 22,000 Taiwanese adults older than age 50 which found that those who had a professional tooth “scaling” in the past year were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next seven years. The researchers also weighed other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. It turned out that a deep cleaning of the teeth was linked to a 31% reduction in the risk of future heart attack and 15% reduction in risk of stroke.

The takeaway from these conflicting studies seems to be that we still really don’t know how the connection works. We do know that oral bacteria has been found in diseased heart valves. We do know that the inflammation caused by gum disease can have a negative effect on other parts of the body but we don’t know for sure what the cause and effect really is.

We do know that people who take care of their oral health also tend to take better care of themselves overall. This reduces their risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure which can contribute to heart disease.

To protect your heart health you need to do many of the same things that will protect your oral health. Stick to a healthy eating plan, exercise regularly and get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis.

To schedule your next dental hygiene visit please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-2581 today.



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Category: gum disease, oral health

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