When thinking about staying healthy as you age, the state of your oral health may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But, in fact, your oral health can provide clues as to your overall health, and problems there can affect your physical health, as well.
According to the ADA (American Dental Academy), research has shown that more than 90 percent of systematic diseases – such as diabetes, leukemia, osteoporosis and heart disease – have oral health consequences, including tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease). Certain common medications, such as pain killers, antidepressants, blood thinners and diuretics can reduce salivary flow. And that increases the bacteria in your mouth, contributing to tooth decay, periodontal disease and chronic candidiasis (thrush).
Cardiologists and dentists agree that poor oral health, especially gum disease, is strongly linked to heart disease; in fact, gum disease is included as a risk factor for coronary artery disease. It’s also an important risk factor for other diseases of the blood vessels and arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Why? Because the bacteria found in both gum disease and heart disease are similar, and inflammation is found in both diseases, as well.
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