We’re bombarded with health advice and it’s often hard to know what to take seriously. We’ve quizzed the experts to find out whether gum disease can affect your heart…
Dr Ellie Cannon is a GP and Woman’s medical columnist:
“The notion that gum disease is associated with heart disease has been around for a while. There is growing evidence to show that if you have healthy gums, you’re less likely to have heart disease. While those who don’t look after their oral hygiene tend to be the same people who get heart disease, it’s unclear whether gum disease causes heart disease like, for example, smoking does. It may simply be that people who avoid risks like smoking and unhealthy diets are also those who take oral hygiene seriously.”
Sarah West is a freelance nutritionist:
“Good nutrition is essential for cardiovascular health and for healthy teeth and gums. Low levels of calcium, vitamin D and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E have been associated with an increased risk of gum disease, so a nutrient-dense diet should be an essential part of your oral hygiene routine. Excessive sugar has been linked to an increase in bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease so, as well as increasing your intake of lean protein, wholegrain carbohydrates, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, cut back on the refined sugars found in sweet and processed foods.”
Dr Anousheh Alavi is a dental surgeon and scientific affairs manager for Colgate:
“While the link between gum disease and heart disease is not yet clear, even allowing for risk factors such as obesity and smoking, those with gum disease had a higher risk of heart disease. Although most of us have some gum inflammation, you shouldn’t ignore bleeding gums because early treatment is very effective. The key is to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach areas on the gumline – so try not to miss any. Brush twice a day, including last thing at night, with an effective antibacterial toothpaste. Frequent flossing and using interdental brushes is very helpful, too.”
Why use Colgate Total?
Colgate Total Advanced offers complete protection for a healthy mouth and guards against the main oral care problems. Clinically proven to provide non-stop, 12-hour protection against bacteria, it’s the number one toothpaste brand used by dentists.*
*COLGATE PROFESSIONAL SURVEY, 300 DENTISTS, 2014
Want more from our ‘Fact or fiction’ series?