Study Shows that a Healthy Smile is Good for Your Heart!
A study out of Sweden is lending further proof to the notion that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body! Presented at a recent meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, the PAROKRANK study found that those with gum disease are at a greater risk for heart attack and other serious health complications. This underscores that a healthy smile is good for your heart and also how important it is for patients to stay on top of oral health in order to help preserve their overall health!
Key Findings from the Study:
World-renown cardiologists from more than 150 countries were all ears in learning the findings of this research at last month’s annual conference. Here are the key findings that caught their attention:
- Periodontis (gum disease) is MUCH more common in first-time heart attack patients than in a group of healthy people of the same age, sex and geographic area
- Damage to gum tissues among those with periodontis increases the chance of germs entering the bloodstream. This can accelerate harmful changes and/or enhance systemic inflammation to blood vessels
- During an average follow-up of just over 6 years, people with gum disease were 49% more likely to die from any cause, have a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, or develop severe heart failure
- Dental screenings and proper oral hygiene may help prevent first and subsequent heart attacks and heart disease
It is also significant to highlight that the study found that heart health risks increased with the severity of the gum disease! However, Dr. E wants to reassure patients that prevention is key and that the risks associated with gum disease can be fairly easily controlled with early detection. That is why it is so essential to maintain regular dental check-ups along with keeping a good oral hygiene routine at home in between dental visits. It is also helpful to be aware of the early signs of gum disease, watch out for these signs, and see your dentist right away if you experience a combination of these symptoms:
Early Symptoms of Gum Disease:
- Bleeding during brushing/flossing
- Tender, inflamed gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Gaps between teeth or shifting teeth
- Tooth pain that can signal infection
- Bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth
Gum Health & Overall Health:
While the recent Swedish study illustrates the connection between oral health and heart health, it is important to remember that good oral hygiene strongly contributes to overall health. For decades, scientific studies have pointed out strong evidence that gum disease may be associated with other serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s diseases. Of more recent concern, doctors are also seeing an increase in complications in COVID patients that have gum disease. This is likely due to the presence of bacteria in the mouth contributing to systemic inflammation and posing additional risks.
Knowledge is power, people! By understanding the link between a healthy smile and overall health – and taking control of your oral hygiene – you can combat the serious health risks linked to gum disease. A healthy smile really is good for your heart in many ways!
Take control of your oral health! Contact Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today to schedule your next dental check-up: 480-494-2435