Over the past few decades, researchers have found increasing evidence that points to low grade inflammation as a trigger to cardiovascular disease. Studies have been ongoing to determine the degree to which periodontal disease plays a role in this entire process. In part, inflammation is caused by chronic infection, and periodontal disease is just that. Ongoing infection, as is present in gum disease, is not limited to the mouth. The inflammation that occurs in this area elicits a systemic response, low grade, system-wide inflammation. Consequently, there is a link between the presence of periodontal disease and the incidence of cardiovascular events such as coronary disease or heart attack.
A recent study was performed by the Scottish Health Survey to determine if oral hygiene has an impact on inflammation markers and cardiovascular disease. Participants in this 8-year study reported personal brushing habits, which were then compared to the incidence of cardiovascular events. Of the nearly 12 thousand participants, 555 experienced some sort of cardiovascular disease at some point, most of which were related to coronary heart disease. 170 of those events resulted in death. Study participants who reported rarely brushing their teeth had increased inflammation markers, and a higher risk of a heart attack or other event.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is inflammation at work in the body. This condition destroys the connective tissues around teeth and weakens the bone tissue in the jaw. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in those over 40, and becomes most prevalent during middle age, when heart disease also becomes a concern.
The health of gums is affected by our oral hygiene habits. Learning to care for your oral tissues properly will help you maintain a beautiful, functional smile for your lifetime. Even more importantly, good oral hygiene habits will lead to a healthier body, decreasing systemic inflammation as well as the risk of heart disease.
Downtown Dental is committed to helping you achieve your smile goals. This begins with addressing the serious concern of gum disease. Brush and floss your teeth every day, and visit Dr. Mungcal every six months for check-ups and professional cleanings, and you are well on your way to a long-lasting, healthy smile.
Contact us to schedule your next dental check-up.