A lot has been said about the link between heart health and your teeth. Science on both sides of the isle (those who claim that teeth impact heart health and those that deny it) seems to support the position of those promulgating it. That should not surprise most readers. If a person has their mind set on a position, they can find a way to support it regardless of the popularity of it. This is true of all areas of science, but I won’t get into those arguments. Our primary concern is to establish whether or not there is a direct or indirect connection between oral health and heart health.
Scientists with the American Heart Association back in 2012 reviewed available scientific evidence and concluded that poor oral health hasn’t been proven to cause heart disease. These experts painstakingly reviewed published research from all over the globe prior to making their determination. Taking the source of the proclamation we can most likely say that heart health is not directly related to oral health and this would be the shortest article ever written on the subject.
Further research into the matter shows that researchers have produced studies wherein gum disease has been proven or rather associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. They’ve shown that poor dental health increases the risk of bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the valves in the heart. This is particularly relevant to those with artificial heart valves.
Further studies have shown that patterns of tooth loss are connected to coronary artery disease. In March of 2012 researchers published findings that a type of bacteria from the mouth can cause blood clots and lead to serious heart problems if it enters the bloodstream. The bacteria mimic a human protein called fibrinogen which is a blood-clotting factor. The platelets in the blood surround the bacteria thus protecting it from elimination from the human immune system thus delivering it to the heart, or brain.
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease if permitted to enter the bloodstream can cause a hardening of the arteries known as atherosclerosis which can lead to blood flow problems and heart blockages. I can site several more studies wherein a correlation has been established between heart health and oral health, but I believe that I’ve established enough of a basis to support my opening hypothesis, you can find support for any stance you take scientifically.
What should be your takeaway from this treatise on oral health? Basically this, people who have bad teeth or who have had serious dental issues wherein their teeth are in a constant state of decay have to pay close attention to their heart and should see their doctor regularly to have their hearts checked to ensure that they are healthy, and should especially see their medical providers at the first sign of problems. Don’t take risks with your heart, it is easier to replace teeth than it is your heart.
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