It is well known that gum disease is related to heart disease. People with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have coronary artery disease and having gum and dental problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), cavities and missing teeth are good predictors of heart disease. Taking care of your mouth can save your life which is why it is critical to pay attention to your dental health and do all you can to achieve a healthy mouth.
Periodontal Infections are Implicated in Heart Disease
Periodontal infections are chronic infections, which have been found to be implicated in heart disease. In this study published in Circulation, the researchers studied 657 people without known heart disease. Interestingly, the relationship between periodontal microbiota and subclinical (not showing up on the usual clinical tests) atherosclerosis was studied.
They found that people who had higher blood levels of overall periodontal bacteria – and specially, certain disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, were more likely to have atherosclerosis in the carotid artery in the neck. Clogging of the carotid arteries can lead to stroke.
Atherosclerosis, also known as – hardening of the arteries – develops when deposits of fats and other substances in the blood begin to stick to the sides of the arteries. These deposits, called plaques, can build up and narrow your arteries, causing a blockage. This may lead to a heart attack or stroke, depending on the location of the blockage.
Bleeding Gums – A Sign of Systemic Inflammation
There’s evidence that what goes on in the mouth has systemic implications. It’s never normal to have bleeding gums. Other gum problems like pockets or a high amount of decay causing bacteria in the mouth, are also implicated.
All aspects of dental health reflect what is going on in the body. Poor dental health will eventually lead to other serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Bleeding and swollen gums may also indicate poor sugar control in a diabetic. During pregnancy, oral disease increases the risk of gestational diabetes as well as the prevalence of prostaglandin, a hormone that stimulates uterine contractions, which increases the odds of delivering a low-birth weight baby.
Additionally, studies have shown that primary caregivers pass oral bacteria directly to children. Some people feel that this is actually a good thing – a novel method of transferring gut bacteria to your child. However, the ADA takes exemption to this by stating that pacifier sharing is a way of passing decay causing bacteria to babies.
How To Take Care of Your Gums
The best treatment, is, of course prevention. Dr. Weston Price – a brilliant nutritionist – was a dentist who made the associations between good dental health and overall good health. His book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration documents his wide world studies of traditional cultures and how they achieved radiant health – something we, in the present day, need to learn.
Keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy will also keep your body healthy. Here’s how.
- Eliminate grains and sugar. This is food for the bacteria that lives in the mouth and causes cavities and gum disease.
- Start eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables as they provide your body with beneficial bacteria that will crowd out the disease causing bacteria.
- Eat healthy fats like butter, coconut oil. olive oil, avocado and fats from pastured animals with your vegetables, as they help your body absorb the minerals in the vegetables. This helps build strong bones and teeth.
- Make bone broth and drink as much as you can. The minerals in bone broth are easily absorbed and assimilated., in addition to the many other benefits of bone broth.
- Take fermented cod liver oil and vitamin K2 for insurance that you are getting the appropriate mineral activators so that your body can utilize the minerals and put them where they belong – in the bones and not in the soft tissues such as the heart or joints.
- Practice oil pulling. This is a ancient Ayurvedic technique that removes harmful bacteria from the mouth. It is particularly used as a powerful cleansing and healing remedy for conditions of the mouth, gums and sinuses. It is very simple to do at home and is a great way to help detoxify.
- Practice good dental hygiene and use dental products that will provide support without the use of toxic substances such as those found in conventional dental care products.
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- Where to get state-of-the-art information on keeping your mouth healthy.