We all know, or should know, the importance of proper dental hygiene to prevent gingivitis (gum disease), but did you know that poor dental hygiene can also increase your risk of heart attack? It’s true, or is it. A popular belief for many years now is that gum disease can lead to heart disease and stroke.
This claim was supported by the fact that the percentage of persons with gum disease that had heart attacks and stroke was higher than the percentage of heart attack and stroke sufferers that did not have gum disease.
As a matter of fact, research has shown that persons with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer heart attack or stroke as persons that did not have gum disease. It has been popular belief for over a hundred years now that gum disease causes heart disease and stroke because bacteria in the mouth would enter the blood stream and therein create the problems associated with heart disease and stroke such as thickening artery walls, buildup of clot causing fatty deposits. Now, new research shows that this is most likely just not the case.
Supporters of this new idea state that there are too many common factors to cause these two to go together than that one causes the other. Age for one, persons of an advanced age are more likely to have gum disease and more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than their younger counterparts. Another factor is life style, let’s face it, if someone is too lazy to brush their teeth they probably aren’t jogging either. And in that same pattern of thinking, if someone’s favorite snack food is a 12 pack of glazed doughnuts rather than carrot sticks, the sugars in the doughnuts wreak havoc on the teeth, especially if they are not properly cleaned.
The fact of the matter is, no one has actually performed a scientific study to prove or disprove the theory that gum disease leads to heart disease and stroke. Casual observance has led to that. But if a younger person that exercises regularly and brushes and flosses two or three times a day was compared to an older person that brushed two or three times a week and never flosses and doesn’t exercises, then that study would be flawed.
Thousands, if not millions of people, of all age groups, energetic and lazy alike, brushers and non brushers would have to be studied for years, if not decades, to make an accurate claim on the subject. That isn’t likely to happen. But it”s better to be safe than sorry, right? Sure, why not?
So brush and floss just for the sake of brushing and flossing, you will look better, and looking better makes you feel better (that’s another study), not to mention you will be more pleasant to be near, which will lead to more friends, which may lead to more activities. Activities are exercise, and exercise keeps you healthy. So there, I just made the link between brushing and good health.
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