Gum disease has been linked to numerous health conditions, including developing kidney disease at four times the national rate, diabetes and increased risks of strokes and heart attacks. Every body part works with another, linking everything, so it’s no surprise that poor oral health can affect your overall health and wellbeing, just as much as your fitness can affect your oral health. A combination of a good exercise regime, healthy diet and not smoking, along with brushing and flossing regularly can reduce the risk of many health problems.
Your Heart Health
Recent studies have found that brushing and flossing helps prevent heart disease and dentists could be able to predict your heart health risks by associating things like gum disease, cavities and missing teeth with coronary events, such as strokes and heart attacks. The bacteria from the gums, teeth and mouth travel through the body each time you swallow. It’s able to attach itself to fatty plaques in arteries and cause further inflammation, which can burst and form a blood clot, leading to coronary events. To turn the cause and effect on its head, those with painful teeth caries and oral health problems are more likely to have a high sugar diet, which is also directly linked to heart health.
Fitness And Gum Disease Risk
Japanese researchers have looked at the link between a person’s oral health and their fitness. One study involved 1,160 participants between 20 and 77 years old and their body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage were used as indicators of obesity. Their fitness was measured by their estimated maximal oxygen consumption during exercise. They found that participants with a healthy body weight and high fitness levels had significantly lower incidence rates of gum disease. Other studies have found similar results, suggesting that while cleaning your teeth, flossing and using mouthwash, as well as avoiding lifestyle factors that contribute to poor oral health, is necessary, adding regular exercise to your oral health regime can be beneficial too.
Long-Term Fitness Link To Oral Health
A long-term national health survey collected data from participants who either worked out moderately five days a week or vigorously for three days a week over the course of at least 10 years. They found that nonsmokers had a lower risk of gum disease by 55% and those who were former smokers had a 75% lower risk. Smokers were also studied, but there was no significant difference, suggesting that the effects of smoking on oral health are hugely detrimental, but can improve if stopped. Quitting smoking will benefit your health all round, dramatically reducing the risk of numerous illnesses and diseases, not just your oral health.
Good oral health alone will not protect you against cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, have a bad diet and don’t work out regularly, you’ll still be at risk, even with an impeccable dental hygiene regime. However, good dental hygiene is an easy way to remove bacteria from your mouth to stop it entering the rest of your body where it has the potential to cause havoc.
Submitted by Jane Walters, Freelance Writer.
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