Orthodontics Effect on Heart Disease/Stroke

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Orthodontics in Relation to Heart Disease, Stroke and Cancer

Recent Studies Show Orthodontic Treatment Lowers the Risk of Oral Conditions Leading to Heart Disease!

Each year, cardiovascular disease kills more Americans than cancer. And while most people are aware that lifestyle choices such as eating right, getting enough exercise and quitting smoking can help prevent cardiovascular disease, they may not know that there is a strong link between dental disease and coronary heart disease.

An article published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), suggests that many patients with periodontal disease will have an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Other articles go further to claim that dental disease is actually a larger risk factor for heart disease than being overweight, having a high cholesterol level, not exercising or smoking!!


What does this have to do with Orthodontics?

Orthodontics generally lowers the risk of the types of oral conditions which studies indicate are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  The simplified theoretical chain of reasoning is as follows.  It is thought that the same bacteria which causes inflammation of the gums also causes inflammation of the heart and vascular lining.  This inflammation causes plaque to form and the lining to breakdown resulting in what we call cardiovascular or coronary heart disease.

This is where orthodontics comes into play. Straight teeth are easier to clean and keep inflammation-free compared to malposed teeth.  Less inflammation means less heart disease.  If you have orthodontics as a child, it is thought that you will have a lifetime reduction in the oral conditions which the studies are showing to be risk factors for heart disease.


Study Urges Men to Brush Up on Their Oral Health

Most people already know that maintaining oral health is a vital component of achieving overall health, but a recent study reveals why it is especially crucial that men pay close attention to their teeth and gums. Research published in the June issue of The Lancet Oncology found that men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. In fact, researchers uncovered that men with periodontal disease may be:

  • 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer
  • 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers

Previous research has also suggested a potential link between gum disease and other conditions such as  diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. This study should prompt men to be particularly mindful of their teeth and gums now that gum disease may play a role in the onset of cancer.