Dental health can no longer be viewed as separate from overall health. Studies show a very strong correlation between periodontal disease and several of the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, lung diseases, diabetes, and stroke.
How Can Oral Health Affect Overall Health?
In one word, bacteria. The same bacteria that cause inflammatory processes in the mouth contribute to vascular diseases, including strokes and heart attacks. These bacteria increase harmful cholesterol in the blood serum which then increase plaque formation leading to atherosclerosis. This is more than a simple correlation or association, it is a cause. Of course, there are several other causes of heart disease, but we can prevent this pathway by managing periodontal disease.
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Kane, Shawn F. “The Effects of Oral Health on Systemic Health.” General Dentistry. Nov/Dec 2017. <https://www.agd.org/docs/default-source/self-instruction-(gendent)/gendent_nd17_ aafp_kane.pdf>.
Toop, J. “The Practice of Oral-Systemic Health.” AGD Impact. Vol 46, No 2. Feb 2018.