Henderson, NV (March 2015)—Chances are, you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. And whether or not you choose to incorporate preventative measures into your lifestyle, you also know that diet, exercise, not smoking, reducing your stress levels, and more can reduce your risk of experiencing heart disease.

What you probably don’t realize is that brushing your teeth, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly can also have a profound effect on your coronary health.

“Understandably, you might be surprised by—and somewhat skeptical about—this information,” says Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, coauthor along with Robert Kulacz, DDS, of The Toxic Tooth: How a root canal could be making you sick , toxictooth.com). “It’s natural to assume that the work of your dentist and your cardiologist would never have a reason to overlap. But more and more, scientific research is confirming that dental disease is a definitive risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Kulacz explains the link between dental health and heart health: “There are numerous sources of oral infection, including gum disease (periodontitis) and tooth decay. Even root canal-treated teeth, which are assumed to be ‘safe,’ remain infected even after the root canal procedure is performed.

“But whatever the source, the bacteria and toxins from oral infections eventually spread throughout the body via the bloodstream and proliferate at distant sites such as the coronary arteries,” he continues. “Over time, they cause tissue damage, disrupt cellular function, and drain the body’s antioxidant stores. The inflammation caused by oral disease can also initiate or worsen systemic diseases like heart disease.”

Consider of the following information:

Current research suggests that 50 percent of heart attacks may be triggered by an infection in the mouth.

Increasingly, heart surgeons are ordering an oral examination before operating.

The bacteria commonly found in oral infections are also often found in high concentration in the coronary artery plaque and blood clots that cause artery blockages—many of which result in stroke or heart attack.

A study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association indicated that individuals with root canal-treated teeth were significantly more likely to have coronary heart disease than those with no history of root canals. The study was corrected for other major risk factors like smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Patients with acute apical periodontitis (gum disease) have a 2.79 times greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.

“This is just a small sampling of the many facts that demonstrate how oral health impacts coronary health,” concludes Dr. Levy. “A substantial body of research now exists that documents the link between these two seemingly separate areas—and it’s growing all the time.”

“So the next time you’re tempted to skip brushing or flossing before going to bed, remind yourself of this information,” Dr. Kulacz adds. “Taking good care of your teeth and gums is an easy way for you to be a better guardian of your heart’s health.” 

For more information, please visit toxictooth.com.