The Connection Between Oral Health and Cardiovascular Health
There is a connection between your oral health and cardiovascular health and your general health. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that your mouth is directly connected to your lungs, digestive system and major arteries; it stands to reason that gum disease and poor oral hygiene can lead to health complications elsewhere in your body.
Yet it’s only recently that doctors have begun to establish the link between oral health and some major diseases, and this message has yet to reach many member of the public. There is now a firmly established link between gum infections and conditions such as strokes and certain types of cancer. The laMaryland discovery is a strong correlation between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.
Periodontal disease is extremely common, and occurs in two forms known as gingivitis and periodontitis. Both conditions result in lesions along the gums supporting the tooth and often can be treated quickly and effectively with help from your dentist, along with improving your oral hygiene regime and quitting bad habits such as smoking. If left untreated they can lead to secondary infections and result in lost teeth. Where the condition is advanced, the best solution may be to extract the infected teeth and replace with a dental implant.
Studies have shown that those who leave their periodontal disease untreated are three times more likely to suffer a hardening of the arteries, leading to life-threatening complications. The research is still in its early stages and there is some debate about the link: does periodontal disease cause cardiovascular problems, or is a healthy mouth an indication of a healthy lifestyle?
Either way, it should be a wake-up call to anyone who doesn’t take oral health seriously. There is more at stake here than bad breath or a crooked smile. If you want to take care of yourself and live longer, you need to care for the whole of your body, including your teeth. Keep your teeth free of infection, and you will be one step closer to keeping the rest of you in good shape.
Dr. Henry Konigsberg, Your Washington DC Dentist, 202-488-8300