Poor oral health has been linked to a variety of health conditions, among them cardiovascular diseases.
Oral health is important. Maintaining healthy gums and teeth requires a lot of steps, something that most of our dentists love to passively-aggressively remind us of. Still, they may be right. While a cavity may not seem like the worse thing in the world, poor oral health has been linked with a variety of diseases, including heart disease.
According to Harvard Health, people who skip out on brushing their teeth and flossing have higher odds of developing heart disease.
While not wholly understood, the relationship between poor oral health and higher odds of heart disease has been one that has appeared in a variety of studies. Experts from Harvard have a variety of theories as to why it exists.
For starters, it’s believed that diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis result in bacteria that travel through the bloodstream towards different parts of the body; they could result in blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. It’s also believed that the body’s response to oral bacteria (inflammation, which is the body’s standard response to infection) could affect the response of the heart and the brain in unexpected ways. Still, researchers make it clear that the connection between heart disease and oral bacteria may or may not exist; one study found that smoking, something that a lot of people with cardiovascular conditions and poor oral health have in common, might be one of the uniting factors.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in America, responsible for 1 out of every 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If there are any measures that can be adopted and that could provide some form of protection, they’re worth considering.
Other conditions that have been associated with poor oral health include arthritis, particularly in the case of people who suffer from periodontal disease, and pancreatic cancer.
There’s plenty of room for investigation in the area of oral health, but all of this evidence suggests how important it is for the rest of your body. Even if you brush your teeth several times a day, it’s important to floss often, no matter how tedious it might be. Going to the dentist is never a good time, but, as plenty of evidence suggests, what goes on in your mouth has the power to affect the rest of your body.