Forgetting to Floss Could Cause This 1 Fatal Disease!

By on May 24, 2014
Neglectful oral hygiene often puts you at a higher risk for gum disease, a common oral disease that can lead to tooth loss. Until recently, however, researchers didn’t know that gum disease also correlated with a higher risk of heart disease. Now according to new research, this isn’t simply a correlation.

Reporting their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers say that the same bacteria that causes gum disease also increases the risk of heart disease, one of the biggest killers of American men and women.

This news may explain why heart disease is on the rise, as gum disease affects nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population.

“We report evidence that introduction of oral bacteria into the bloodstream in mice increased risk factors for atherosclerotic heart disease,” says Irina M. Velsko, a graduate student of the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, who announced the data on Wednesday. “Our hope is that the American Heart Association will acknowledge causal links between oral disease and increased heart disease. That will change how physicians diagnose and treat heart disease patients.”

The Research

Using a group of laboratory mice, researchers wanted to find out the following: Could certain bacteria that cause gum disease also cause heart problems? To test out this theory, they infected the mice with four specific bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia, and Fusobacterium nucleatum.

They then waited to see how these bacteria affected their heart.

As it turned out, they soon began developing inflammation and higher cholesterol levels, two common risk factors for heart disease.

For researcher Kesavalu Lakshmyya, the evidence is clear: Bad oral health also means bad heart health as well.

“In Western medicine there is a disconnect between oral health and general health in the rest of the body; Dentistry is a separate field of study from Medicine,” says Lakshmyya. “The mouth is the gateway to the body and our data provides one more piece of a growing body of research that points to direct connections between oral health and systemic health.”

In addition, University of Florida cardiologist Alexandra Lucas says this study raises awareness of the issues oral health can have on the entire body.

“Our intent is to increase physician awareness of links between oral bacterial infection and heart disease,” says Lucas. “Understanding the importance of treating gum disease in patients with heart disease will lead to future studies and recommendations for careful attention to oral health in order to protect patients against heart disease.”

What You Should Do

Luckily, gum disease is an easy disease to prevent–provided you keep up with your oral hygiene. To minimize your risk of gum disease, brush your teeth twice daily and always use floss. In addition, if you smoke cigarettes, now’s the time to drop the habit: This can increase your gum disease and heart disease risk significantly.

Readers: How well do you take care of your teeth?

Study: Gum Disease Bacteria Also Raises Risk of Heart

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