red stethoscope making heart in front of tooth model

How Your Teeth Can Predict Heart Disease and Diabetes

DF7 General Dentistry

Recent research suggests that there’s a link between oral health and serious, chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. By taking care of your oral health through regular brushing, flossing, and proactive dental care, you can likely reduce your risk of being diagnosed with a serious health condition. Here are some of the things that researchers have found related to how bad oral health can predict or be linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

People with diabetes are more likely to have gingivitis or periodontal disease. Since those with diabetes have less of an ability to fight off bacteria, they have a harder time fighting off bacteria that make their way to the gums.

Worse Blood Glucose Control

Gum disease impacts blood glucose control, which makes it more difficult for those with diabetes to manage their condition. Not controlling your sugar and insulin levels could lead the disease to progress, causing more serious symptoms and co-morbidities. While research is still ongoing, there could be a link between blood glucose control and gum disease that increases your chance of developing diabetes.

Risk of Inflammation

Inflammation is a sign of gum disease. It is also a serious issue that can lead to atherosclerosis, which as it limits blood flow to your heart increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Researchers have found that the more gum disease bacteria you have in your mouth, the thicker your carotid arteries could be, which can cause a stroke.

Bacterial Infections in the Bloodstream

With periodontitis, you may have infected gum pockets, with pus and bacteria that can enter your bloodstream. This can cause inflammation in other parts of your body, which can damage blood vessels. One bacteria called Streptococcus sanguis is prevalent in periodontal disease and strokes.

Correlation, Not Cause and Effect

So far, researchers are in the early phases of understanding how oral health and gum disease are linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease and type II diabetes. The data is somewhat circumstantial, meaning they have yet to prove a causal relationship where one causes the other. However, they have definitely identified that there is a strong correlation between oral health, heart function, and diabetes.

The correlation could be as simple as the fact that people with poor oral health aren’t likely to take care of themselves in other ways, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet. These other factors are known factors for developing diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, one of the best ways that you can protect yourself is to take care of your oral health.

Smile Shack is a leading dentist in Port Jefferson Station, NY. We pride ourselves on offering a full array of dental services, from cleanings to dental implants, and root canal treatment to Invisalign. If you are searching for a caring, trustworthy, and professional dentist, we invite you to call 631-928-7500 to make an appointment today.