The heart to mouth connection

The heart to mouth connection

There is absolutely no denying the fact that a healthy mouth is of utmost importance. However, does that also mean that it guarantees a healthy heart? The idea of a relationship between oral health and the heart has been around for over a century. However, in the last 20 years a few health authorities have taken this relationship seriously enough to endorse dental care as a means of bringing down the risk of heart disease.

Dr Ann Bolger, professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, believes that the oral cavity can be a good warning sign for the presence of an underlying heart condition. It is believed that there is a link between serious gum disease and atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease.

Gum diseases such as periodontitis and heart disease have common risk factors such as age, diabetes and smoking. Granted that these pooled risk factors could clarify why diseases of the blood vessels and oral cavity can occur simultaneously, there is some data that suggests that there could be an autonomous relationship between these two diseases.

Gum disease affects 80% of Indians and many a times a condition like this can go unidentified. Here are few cautionary signs for gum disease:

Bright red, tender to touch or swollen gums

Gums that bleed while brushing or flossing

Gums that seem to be moving away from your teeth

Persistent unpleasant breath or a foul taste in your mouth

Teeth that are wobbly or moving away from each other

The preventive care for gum disease is to schedule semi-annual dental check-ups and get professional cleaning.
Dr Aarti Sharma-Kapila

(The author is GM, quality and dental administration, Clove Dental)

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