Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Recently, oral health has been a serious topic of discussion when it comes to prevention and even diagnosis of certain conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Several studies have shown a clear link between heart disease and poor oral care.
Gum disease, which results from poor oral care and is preventable, often goes undiagnosed in many people and affects about 80% of us.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
According to researchers, gum disease is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and other diseases which affect arteries and blood vessels.
Three commonalities shared among gum and heart disease:
Inflammation and swelling.
Blood vessels with atherosclerosis, which is plaque build-up inside the arteries, contain the same bacteria found in gum disease.
Individuals with moderate to severe gum disease have high levels of a protein that increases with inflammatory issues or diseases. This protein is also an indicator of your heart attack risk.
Bottom line: If you have gum disease, you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Schedule your dental exam now. Prevention is the key to better health and reduced risk.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
There is also a link between diabetes and oral health. Did you know that diabetics are at a higher risk of developing oral problems such as gingivitis, which is early stage gum disease, and periodontitis, which is serious, later stage gum disease? Diabetics are more likely to develop periodontitis because they are more susceptible to bacterial infections and have a reduced ability to fight them off.
What You Can Do:
Maintain a healthy blood sugar – When you control your blood sugar, you significantly reduce your risk of developing oral health complications from diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that diabetics who manage their blood sugar well have no greater instance of gum disease than those without diabetes.
Develop and maintain good dental habits – Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing everyday go a long way towards keeping you healthy.
Avoid tobacco products – Don’t smoke or chew tobacco. This is a prescription for problems, especially when you are diabetic. Using tobacco products increases your risk of developing gum disease five times over the non-smoker. What’s more? If you smoke beyond the age of 45 and you are diabetic, you increase your odds for developing periodontal disease twenty fold!