“Don’t look a gift horse in the teeth,” the old saying goes. New information about the link between bad oral health and heart disease brings a new slant to this old saying.
Since I have atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), I’m alert for information that affects the heart. Imagine my surprise when I read that the health of your gums can affect your health. In a recent article by Dr. Ranit Mishori, she explained that in a study published in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers studied the health of people who had recently suffered a heart attack, and found that those patients had bad oral health than the control group.
How could bad oral health cause heart attacks? The report didn’t say it caused them, but did show an association between the two. In periodontitis, the advanced stage of gingivitis, bacteria, or plaque, accumulates in the gums. These organisms release toxins that can circulate, via blood vessels, through the body.
Multiple studies from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that, the more advanced the gum disease, the thicker and harder the walls of the arteries. Even more startling: they found this to be true even for young, health patients with no other heart problems.
These circulating toxins can cause more havoc in your body. Scientists are finding more links between bad oral health and diabetes, kidney disease, pre-term labor, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain types of cancer.
Bottom line: we need to protect our gums and teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology says that one in three adults over 30 have periodontal disease. Avoid being one of these statistics, and you may very well be on your way to a healthier heart. So — your horse owners out there, is that why horse buyers always check a horse’s teeth?