Did you know that bad breath and gum disease could increase your risk of heart disease?
It is well-documented that high blood pressure, inactivity and smoking are linked to an elevated risk of heart disease, but did you know that bad breath and gum disease could also be risk factors for strokes and heart attacks?
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, claims that the scientific link between poor oral health and cardiac problems is well-founded, but insists that many people are unaware of the risks associated with oral disease. Only 1 in 6 people are aware of the connection between gum disease and type 2 diabetes and two-thirds of people don’t know that oral health problems can put you at risk of heart disease.
GP, Dr Paul Stillman, explained that inflammation of the gums could lead to the possibility of bacteria from the mouth accessing the bloodstream and travelling to other parts of the body. He added that it’s “no accident” that bacteria known as Streptococcus sanguinis, which cause gum disease, are also a contributing factor to coronary heart disease.
The advice from dentists and doctors is to keep an eye out for changes in the mouth and to ensure that your schedule regular checks. When you go to the dentist, they may be able to spot early signs and administer treatment, which will prevent the condition from progressing. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen, sore and red gums and bleeding when you brush.
Health experts are also eager for the public to be aware of other risk factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.