By: Kennedy Shelley
“He is long in the tooth” is a nice way of saying someone is old.
The term refers to periodontal disease. It’s where the gums start to pull back and more tooth and sometimes bone is exposed.
If you have it, you might have a huge problem. Not just with your smile, but your heart.
There is an established link between your gum health and your heart.
Some wonder is your mouth health the “canary in the coal mine” which is a way of saying it’s a warning or the cause.
The jury is still out on that one. But there is more and more evidence that fixing your mouth will fix your heart.
But there is a clear link between bad oral health and your risk of heart attack, diabetes, stroke and kidney problems.
In short, if your gums bleed, you have problems…
This is a touchy subject for me. My dad joked that he went to the dentist who told him, “the good news is your teeth are fine, the bad news is your gums have to go.” He ignored the problem and died of a heart attack at 54.
The American Heart Association has said that periodontal disease is linked to heart disease, but not causing it.
And that has been the standard until 2016 when a new study came out that showed a direct link that gum disease causes heart disease.
This study was able to show that fixing the gums, fixed heart problems.
It wasn’t done casually by some dentists; this was done as a “Grade A” study that showed periodontal disease fixes changed all the dangers of heart disease.
(To read the study click here.)
The other side of the coin is that your diet is going to affect the health of your mouth.
Your bleeding gums my be the first sign that you have insulin resistance and or type 2 diabetes. Elimination of carbohydrates, especially refined grain and sugar will reduce the inflammation in your arteries and your gums.
Your gums may give you visible insight into the health of your heart.
On top of the inflammation and bleeding that can be helped by your diet and dentist, you can also check your mouth for certain germs and bacterial pathogens that can be attacking your heart.
Your dentist may suggest you use a service such as MyPerioPath to check your mouth for different bacteria that can kill you.
These are especially important for those already suffering from heart disease or diabetes.
There are certain genetic markers that can show if you are at an increased risk for inflammation, and this test can make you aware of it while you have time to do something about it.
At least 47% of Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Which is highly correlated to coronary artery disease which puts you at risk of heart attack and stroke.
So, don’t ignore it like my dad did. He left the world way too early at 54. The fact that his gums were in such horrible shape should have been a warning that he needed to make some changes to his life.
Now that we know so much more about the link between mouth health and heart health we hope you take your dentists visits more seriously.