A new study is helping to shed more light on the important connection between the mouth and the heart. According to research recently published online by the American Heart Association, scientists have demonstrated that using an oral topical remedy to reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis (gum disease), also results in the prevention of vascular inflammation and can lower the risk of heart attack.
This study is the first time researchers anywhere have demonstrated the ability of an oral treatment for gum disease to also reduce inflammation in the artery wall. The active ingredient is an inflammation-resolving molecule known as Resolvin E1. This discovery further underscores the increasing body of evidence showcasing how problems in the mouth – and how they are treated – can have life-changing influences on other key systems in the body, such as the heart in this case.
“Our research is helping to underscore the very real link between oral health and heart disease,” said Lead Investigator Hatice Hasturk DDS PhD. “The general public understands the connection between heart health and overall wellness, and often takes appropriate steps to prevent heart disease. More education is needed to elevate oral wellness into the same category in light of proven connections to major health conditions.”
According to the CDC, heart disease accounts for one in four deaths in the United States, and the rate continues to rise. These findings suggest a need to expand the public’s understanding of risk factors beyond cholesterol, smoking, hypertension and diabetes to include a focus on oral health. With support from the scientific community, the researchers aim to generate greater awareness of gum disease as a critical risk factor for heart disease, independent from diet and lifestyle.