There’s no question that oral bacteria influence the health of teeth and gum tissues. Because teeth have non-shedding surfaces, the ecosystem in the biofilm that colonizes on tooth surfaces is not only persistent but highly complex. Did you know that oral plaque and arterial plaque have been found to have similar inflammation-promoting pathogens? Over the last two decades, scientists have been studying the relationship between periodontal disease and atherosclerosis. Although inconclusive, researchers say it makes sense that inflammation in one area of the body might influence inflammation elsewhere in the body.
Overall, it appears that there is a small, but significant association between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. Per the Mayo Clinic, increasing evidence shows that oral infections may play a role in the development of many systemic diseases. Taking good care of oral health is not proven to prevent heart disease, nor is treating existing gum disease proven to reduce heart disease risk. However, ongoing studies show that treating periodontitis reduces the serum concentration of inflammatory markers, primary measures associated with chronic heart disease, cancer and other serious health conditions.
Those who have periodontitis often have risk factors, such as diabetes and smoking, that put their oral health, as well as the health of the heart and blood vessels in jeopardy. Per the American Heart Association, shared risk factors contribute to general inflammation and may explain why gum disease and heart disease may occur simultaneously. Aggressive gum surgery can be risky for those who have had a heart attack or have a heart condition. While we don’t often equate good dental health with equally good overall health, it makes good sense to be diligent with brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings and oral exams.
Traditionally, oral health was described as the absence of disease. In 2016 the FDI Dental World Federation described oral health a new way: “Oral health is multifaceted, and includes the ability to speak, smile, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.” Use good oral hygiene to control the risks of halitosis, gum disease, and tooth loss and very likely support overall wellness.
- Brush after meals, or at least twice daily, with a soft bristled toothbrush. If you are not sure you are brushing properly, have your dentist or hygienist show you.
- Change your toothbrush every three months, or more often if bristles look worn or spread out.
- Avoid snacking on sugary or starchy foods.
- Don’t smoke, as smoking raises the risk of gum disease, as well as oral and throat cancers.
- See your dentist twice yearly, or as recommended. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, may require more frequent visits. If you notice any bleeding, mouth sores or jaw pain, see your dentist as soon as you can.
- Eat a balanced nutritious diet to support overall and dental health.
- Certain medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to cavities. Consider a dry mouth toothpaste or mouthwash formulated to help treat the symptoms.
Periodontal disease is associated with lower levels of important vitamins and minerals. Probiotics may help to decrease inflamed and swollen gum tissues and suppress the growth of harmful oral pathogens. Plant foods that are rich in anthocyanins, such as berries, may help to prevent pathogens from colonizing on teeth. Green tea contains polyphenols that help to reduce oral bacteria. Pycnogenol has been shown to decrease plaque and support healthy gum tissues. Raw vegetables and fruits not only provide vitamins, minerals and healthy fiber, they help to remove food that adheres to teeth, especially after a meal.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements in support of oral health and overall wellness:
DentaVen™ by Premier Research Labs – This unique patented formula provides a highly desirable strain of probiotic that colonizes and resides in the mouth, beneficially supporting tooth and periodontal health. Gluten free.
Neem Mouthwash by Theraneem – Validated by modern science for oral care, neem has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to maintain healthy teeth and gum tissue. Neem helps to eliminate the bacteria that causes inflammation, while helping to heal tissues and freshening breath. Gluten, paraben and phthalate free.
PerioBiotic™ Fennel Toothpaste by Designs for Health – This fluoride-free probiotic toothpaste is formulated with Dental-Lac™, a specific probiotic strain, in support of healthy oral bacteria and the maintenance of dental health. Gluten free.
HylaMints Dry Mouth by Hyalogic – These teeth friendly mints provide moisture support for dry mouth with hyaluronic acid, nature’s natural moisturizer. HylaMints freshen breath, while promoting oral comfort and enhancing salivary function. Natural peppermint spearmint flavor. Gluten free, vegan formulation.
Pycnogenol® by Douglas Laboratories – This powerful natural antioxidant helps reduce oxidative damage to tissues and supports capillary and arterial health, normal joint mobility and healthy gum tissues. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.
Heart disease and oral health: role of oral bacteria in heart plaque. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health
Oral Health, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Disease. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.510.2073&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Inflammatory marker detected in blood tests can better predict risk of death, study suggests. http://www.news-medical.net/news/20161129/Inflammatory-marker-detected-in-blood-tests-can-better-predict-risk-of-death-study-suggests.aspx
Dental Health and Heart Health. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Dental-Health-and-Heart-Health_UCM_459358_Article.jsp
Oral Health Fact Sheet. https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/oral-health.html
The dental diet: 10 nutrition strategies for healthy teeth. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-teeth-dental-health