It’s no secret
that emerging data are strengthening the link between oral health, heart disease, and total-body wellness. A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease even discovered an association—although not a causal one—between oral health and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. And as with many diseases, the key ingredient is inflammation.
“The most common source of chronic inflammation in the entire body—in fact, the No. 1 inflammatory disease process in the body—is gum disease,” says Chris Kammer, DDS.
Under normal circumstances, bacteria in the mouth are benign and even beneficial—but as soon as they become pathogenic and enter the bloodstream, these bacteria trigger the release of C-reactive protein, a known component of inflammation. An inflamed circulatory system can lead to insulin sensitivity and diabetes, excessive fats in the blood, and fatty plaques lining the arteries—all of which increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke.