Gum disease linked heart disease, strokes, diabetes and infertility

Bad oral health can affect our general health and well-being as well as robbing us of our smile.

The British Dental Health Foundation recently conducted a National Dental Survey . The conclusions of the research are shocking and have gone so far as to associate gum disease to potential risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, premature births, low birth-weight babies and, in recent early studies, infertility. These are astounding implications and Dr Nigel Carter (the Foundation’s Chief Executive) states in conclusion ‘The public is put at risk by poor dental hygiene habits yet awareness of these risks is very low. Gum disease in particular has been linked to serious health issues. It affects most people at some point in their lives, so there is no excuse for ignoring good dental hygiene.”

Cleaning teeth

Brush twice a day

Such important conclusions that have wide spread effects need to be broadcast a little more widely.  The basic advice of the British Health Foundation is to:

a) brush your teeth twice a day with a flouride toothpaste (there is a massive debate about flouride that I will touch on in a separate post)

b) floss daily

c) avoid sweet sticky foods

d) have regular dental check ups

Of those responding to some research carried out by the foundation 33% did not follow the advice to brush twice daily, 8% (equivalent to nearly five million people in the UK), admitted they had no NHS dentist and were not inclined to find one.  I wonder if they know the darker side of not caring for your mouth and teeth?

Research carried out which looks specifically at the systemic links between oral health and general health has come up with these frightening conclusions:

Facts, figures and details taken from British Dental Health Foundation

Heart Health

Good oral healthcare and treatment for gum disease can prevent the bacteria that cause thickening of the arteries. (Piconi, Trabattoni et al, FASEB Journal Dec 08 Italian/UK study in FASEB Journal)

Gum disease can be linked to heart disease. (September 2008 – scientists present the Society of General Microbiology’s autumn meeting with two new studies illustrating this.

There are 700 million oral bacteria among these the harmful bacteria can bond and act against the immune system or antibiotics, increasing chances of heart disease even in the case of fit healthy people (Jenkinson, Kerrigan et al – Uni Bristol/RCS Dublin Sep 08)

Oral bacteria causes atherosclerosis, or ‘furring’ of the arteries, as oral bacteria’s similarity to proteins which cause arteries to fur confuses the immune system. (These findings were presented by University of Otago’s Professor Greg Seymour).

There is strong evidence that treating gum disease can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Inflammation in the mouth has a measurable effect in the bloodstream and the rest of the body. In trials, once the gum infection was eradicated the risk of heart attacks and future blood clots was reduced. (Taylor, Tofler et al; Journal of Dental Research, January 2006) * Jan 2006 – PERICAR trial).

Diabetes

There is evidence of links from periodontal disease to type 2 diabetes. Of 9,000 participants in the study 800 developed diabetes. Those with high levels of periodontal disease were twice as likely to develop diabetes. (Demmer, Desvarieux et al, Diabetes Care November 2008 – Columbia University. USA).

A link has been found between gum disease and pre-diabetes, often a precursor to type-2 diabetes. Dr. Carla Pontes Andersen said: “The gum inflammation seen in periodontitis can allow bacteria and inflammatory substances from the dental structures to enter the bloodstream. These processes seem to affect blood sugar control.” (Pontes Anderson, Flyybjerg et al; Journal of Periodontology)

Premature births

December 2008 – researchers in Finland question 328 women on oral health and pregnancy, those who needed urgent dental treatment, suggesting poor oral health, were 2.5 times more likely to miscarry. (Heimonen et al, Blackwell Publishing)

July 2007 – Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chile finds link between gum disease and premature births. One in three women at risk of premature labour presented with gum disease bacteria in their amniotic fluid, as well as their mouth.

Strokes

In June 2006 scientists found that gum disease may contribute to clogged carotid arteries leading to an increased risk of a stroke. Blocked carotid arteries were much more common in people who had gum disease. (Chung, Friedlander et al, General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research)

Infertility

In February of this year a pilot study on 56 men  suggests links between gum disease and low sperm counts. ( Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine and Bikur Holim Hospital-based scientists)

If that has scarred you into visiting the dentist or you need more information you can contact the National Dental Helpline for free and impartial expert advice on 0845 063 1188 Monday to Friday.

Related Post

7 Comments

  • I groaned when I read this article taken from the BDA. Dentistry in the UK is truly in the dark ages. It is still legal to put MERCURY into people’s mouths, when it is acknowledged to be one of the most toxic substances on the planet. How can gums NOT be diseased when someone’s mouth is full of Mercury???? All the health attributed to gum disease may well be linked with heavy metal poisoning, or sub-clinical infection caused by root canal treatments, implants and the like. Because the BDA has refused to wake up to this, they are not in a position to comment as most of them will likely be suffering with Mercury poisoning which affects one’s ability to ‘join up the dots’. See the website http://www.mercurymadness.org …. and prepare to be shocked if you’ve never considered this before.
    And as for flouride …. do some research and find out what it is and where it comes from!

  • Intimately, the post is really the best on this notable topic. I came across your post while trying to find a source for dental-related topics. As we age, our teeth become worn and dull. One way to limit the dull look is to take control and develop a consistent oral hygiene regimen. Seriously, the mouth is a breeding ground for disease, and the health of your mouth affects the rest of your body. Oral bacteria provoke inflammation which increases levels of white blood cells and a certain protein called C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein is found in the blood and linked to heart disease. diabetes, stroke, etc.

    – Tina

  • toneyahuja says:

    It is really a nice article regarding Dental..i just want to know that is there any other technology for Dental implants or titanium metal are used in every case….

  • There are Several theories exist to explain the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.

  • I’ve seen articles over the internet stating that gum diseases can really affect one’s health and can lead to severe complications. I wish that people should now be aware of their oral health to have a healthy body.

  • Great read! Oral health definitely affects the overall health, we should take good care of it. Thanks for the article.

  • Thanks for sharing the best posts they very nice and very help us. You made a good site its very interesting one. I am very impressed with your job about this category that you did well. Thank you all

So, what is your take on this?

%d bloggers like this: