Recent research has found a link between a bacteria that causes gingivitis and atheriorsclerosis:
Chronic oral infection with the periodontal disease pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, not only causes local inflammation of the gums leading to tooth loss but also is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. A new study reveals how the pathogen evades the immune system to induce inflammation beyond the oral cavity.
If you’re wondering what the difference between “arteriosclerosis” and “atheriosclerosis” is, the Mayo Clinic explains:
Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaques), which can restrict blood flow.
So the same bacteria that causes gingivitis may also be a cause of a buildup of the plaque in your arteries which can lead to atheriosclerosis.
That’s why brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing at least once a day is so important. It doesn’t allow this bacteria to establish itself in you gums and cause gingivitis. And gingivitis, untreated, appears to have even more dire consequences for your system than just the possibility of developing periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Practice good oral habits and you’ll find that the consequences are much wider than just clean sparkling teeth and healthy gums.