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The Heart Disease Link You Didn’t Know About

You may know that risk factors of heart disease include insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation, but did you know that your teeth might play a role? According to a new study, losing teeth is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

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When researchers examined nearly 317,000 American adults between the ages of 40 and 79, they found that 28% of adults who had lost all of their teeth to gum disease also suffered from heart problems. Of those who kept all of their teeth, only 7% had heart problems. Even after accounting for age, weight, race, tobacco use, alcohol use and dental visits, researchers found that people with some missing teeth were still more likely to develop heart disease.

While the study did not reveal a cause-and-effect link, the association suggests some sort of relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health. Lead study author, Dr. Hamad Mohammed Qabha, explained, “"If a person's teeth fall out, there may be other underlying health concerns. Clinicians should be recommending that people in this age group receive adequate oral health care to prevent the diseases that lead to tooth loss in the first place and as potentially another way of reducing risk of future cardiovascular disease."

Many people do not realize how their oral health can impact their total body health. But the truth is, it's very difficult to achieve high-level physical health if your dental health isn't effectively addressed. Studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease, including Alzheimer’s, stroke and diabetes. When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it cases your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which leads to inflammatory effects in the entire circulatory system. And inflammation, of course, can have very detrimental effects on just about every part of the body.

For optimal oral health, eat an alkalizing, antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory diet, and replace toothpaste and antibacterial/alcohol-based mouthwashes with an oral rinse that nourishes your oral microbiome and in turn improves your overall health.