Good oral health bodes well for general health

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oral care Heart Blood

New research indicates that attention to flossing and tooth brushing can help to promote a good heart, providing a new tool for oral care marketers.

The latest research is adding to a growing volume of studies that suggest good oral care can help promote good all round health and ward off problems such as diabetes and even premature birth and arthritus.

Research published this month by the Society of General Microbiology points to the fact that the bleeding gums associated with gum disease can significantly increase the incidence of heart disease.

Your mouth is dirty!

"The mouth is probably the dirtiest place in the human body,"​ said Dr Steve Kerrigan from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland and a member of the society.

"If you have an open blood vessel from bleeding gums, bacteria will gain entry to your bloodstream.”

The society points to the fact that blood from gums give way to the entry of over 700 different types of bacteria that form in the mouth.

Indeed, several other recent studies have shown that the more advanced a case of periodontal disease is, the higher the likelihood that arteries will be narrower - one of the first symptoms of heart disease.

Watch out for plaque build up

The studies have shown that the build up of plaque in the tissue of the bones around the bones supporting the teeth can become inflamed and infected – one of the first symptoms of gum disease.

However, rather than this infection remaining confined to the mouth area, more and more scientific studies are forming a link between the release of toxins created by bacteria from gum disease circulating into the blood stream.

Once these toxins reach the blood stream, scientists say that this can lead to the thinning of the arteries, which can eventually contribute to both heart disease and diabetes.

Intensive oral care cuts risk

Last year a study carried out at the University of Connecticut showed that an intensive oral care treatment over a six month period could help to cut back on the incidence of endothelial dysfunction, which affects the lining of blood vessels.

Likewise studies have also pointed to the fact that there is a higher rate of gum disease amongst women who give birth prematurely, as opposed to those that carry full-term.

Although scientists say the links between gum disease and serious diseases still need further research, they beieve that doctors now have enough evidence to recommend improved oral care as a means of avoiding them.

As brushing, flossing and rinsing are integral part of this kind of preventative treatment this could mean a powerful marketing tool for oral care players.

However more substantial research evidence will have to be forthcoming before this becomes a reality, an area that would benefit from the support of oral care players.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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