How important is brushing and flossing to your heart? Very important, if new studies on the connection between gum disease and heart disease are to be believed. It may sound farfetched but may not be if you consider some facts.
Gum disease which is also known as periodontal disease is said to affect the heart, thanks to the oral bacteria which can enter the blood stream. We all know the trouble that different kinds of bacteria can cause in the human body. After all the wide range of anti bacterial drugs that modern medicine has developed is testimony to the peskiness of bacteria.
Heart attack or stroke
Coming back to the oral bacteria from gum disease, these bacteria then gets attached to the fatty deposits in the arteries and contributes to blood clot formation inside the arteries.
These blood clots make it difficult for the blood to flow normally through the body’s circulatory system. This obstruction to the blood flow causes problems of limited oxygen and nutrients reaching the various body tissues.
The heart is thus strained to work harder to make the blood flow properly and this over straining of the heart can lead to heart attack or a stroke which can paralyze a side of the body.
So if you consider the logical sequence of events the connection between gum disease and heart disease can be quite a valid one.
Research supported facts
Research done in Finland initially in the time frame of 1971 to 1987 led to some further understanding of the connection between gum disease and heart disease. The study found that coronary artery disease was often linked to poor oral hygiene. They study was based on 9,760 men and found that those with dental infections were much more likely to have strokes and heart attacks.
There was a theory that the inflammation that is caused by the plaque buildup in the mouth can also lead to the swelling of internal arteries. Naturally if the arteries have a problem the blood flow in the body gets affected. This in turn made the heart more susceptible to strokes and failure.
Brushing and flossing is a good idea
While the exact mechanics of the connection between gum disease and heart disease is not yet known, it is a fair possibility that having bad oral hygiene is likely to increase your risk of a stroke. This means that in today’s fairly health conscious society it is a good idea to promote healthy oral hygiene habits to ensure a healthy heart. Other studies have followed the one in Finland and most seem to agree with the premise that there exists a valid connection between gum disease and heart disease.
There have been cases where people with many missing teeth have been more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and experience a paralytic stroke. So why take a chance on something like this. Just ensure that you take good care of your teeth and gums and be happy in the thought that you have even done something good for your heart by proxy.