The American Heart Association recently came out with a statement refuting the long-held belief that periodontal disease contributes to heart disease and stroke. The reason for that connection is that bacteria caused by gum disease can trigger inflammation in the heart.
While the study’s lead author acknowledged gum disease increases the amount of circulating bacteria in the mouth, he stated preventive periodontal treatment is not going to help cut your risk of heart disease and stroke. Instead, he recommends people focus their efforts on treating known causes of heart disease, such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
What’s my take on these findings? I have no problem recommending that folks should address known risk factors for heart disease. But I wouldn’t neglect your dental health either, and continue getting regular dental care.
I also disagree high cholesterol should stay on the prevention list, while good dental health falls off. As many of you know, I firmly believe that high cholesterol isn’t the real culprit in cardiovascular disease. In fact, the aggressive overtreatment of high cholesterol is doing more harm than good.
It's also my opinion that we should spend money on dentists and CoQ10, instead of statins, in our quest to prevent heart disease and stroke. The reason is both periodontal and heart disease is caused by inflammation. There are common mechanisms in action, and benefits to be gained by keeping all the inflammation in your body under control.
It also looks like no one explored that fact that people with periodontal disease tend to have low levels of CQ10. Gum disease is a chronic drain on the body's CoQ10 resources, and low levels of CoQ10 levels can lead to heart disease.
In fact, researchers have discovered that 100 mg of CoQ10 daily helps to douses the inflammation that accompanies gum disease and reduces the depth of pockets in the gums. These pockets are hard to clean and are key breeding grounds for bacteria, so this action of the nutrient is extremely beneficial. Vitamin C, folic acid, and zinc are other good nutrients for dental health.
To keep your mouth in good shape, I recommend using lozenges that contain CoQ10, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc. Also, make sure you brush your teeth along the gum line, twice daily, with a soft-bristled brush, and floss before you go to bed. Drinking a cup of green tea before eating also helps to prevent harmful bacteria from staying in your mouth.
I’ve always viewed as the window to the heart. In fact, this is why I collaborated on a book with my friend and holistic dentist Dr. Mark A. Breiner, called Whole-Body Dentisty®: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health. I’m proud to say it’s a finalist for Book of the Year Award in the health category.
Now it’s your turn: What do you do to maintain good oral health?