The link between gum disease, hypertension and heart attacks
(NaturalHealth365) Did you know that nearly half of all people over the age of 30 have some degree of gum disease? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this means many Americans either already have poor oral health or are well on their way to developing it.
This may come as surprise, but bad teeth and foul breath aren’t the only problems gum disease causes. A September 2019 meta-analysis and systematic review published in Cardiovascular Research finds that having periodontitis – an advanced form of gum disease – increases your chances of having hypertension, a major heart attack risk factor.
3 shocking ways poor oral health affects heart health
The scientific and medical communities overwhelmingly agree – poor oral health can damage your heart and increase your risk for:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
In the new Cardiovascular Research paper, researchers analyzed 81 studies of the link between gum disease and hypertension (high blood pressure). Based on this large collection of data, they found that moderate to severe gum disease increased a person’s risk of hypertension by 22%.
Severe gum disease increased a person’s risk by as much as 49%!
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In other words: poor oral health can significantly increase your risk for hypertension, which we know is a major stroke and heart attack risk factor. Investigators believe the increased inflammation caused by gum disease and oral bacteria are major phenomenons behind this link.
Their findings have major implications. They note that even just a modest rise in blood pressure (say, +5 mmHg) may increase a person’s risk of death from heart attack or stroke by as much as 25%!
And as if this isn’t – pardon the pun – heartbreaking enough, poor oral health can also increase a person’s risk for diabetes, cancer, and (in pregnant women) low birth weight and premature delivery.
Now for the good news: Proper oral healthcare can improve your lifespan
A 2011 cohort study published in Journal of Aging Research found that brushing teeth every night, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly were associated with increased longevity in older adults.
And, even though this study has some flaws, the findings make sense: by keeping your teeth and gums healthy, you can reduce your risk of the many health problems associated with poor health, and thus increase your life expectancy.
Plus, it’s reasonable to say that a person who is committed enough to practice daily healthy teeth habits is also likely to practice other healthy habits, too, like exercising, avoiding sugary drinks and foods, and not smoking.
What’s the takeaway? Be the kind of person who brushes and flosses daily – it could save your life!
Understand the top warning signs of gum disease
You might assume that if you have gum disease, you’d know it. True, most of the signs and symptoms of gum disease are fairly noticeable, but some – like a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down or persistent bad breath – are easy to miss.
Here are the other top warning signs to look out for:
- Gums that bleed while brushing, eating hard foods, and flossing
- Red, tender, and swollen gums
- Gums that recede from the teeth, which makes the teeth look longer
- Pain, tenderness, or sores in your mouth
- Loose teeth
Even if you think your teeth and gums are perfectly healthy, you should still visit a qualified, biological (or holistic) dentist at least once or twice per year. Naturally, if you have serious oral health issues, you may need to see a dentist more often for check ups.
At home: oil pulling, sea salt rinses, the use of a hydrofloss and herbal mouthwashes can also be quite helpful.
Editor’s note: Click here for access to the Holistic Oral Health Summit, hosted by yours truly, Jonathan Landsman – featuring the best ways to avoid cavities, gum disease plus much more!
Sources for this article include: