Could flossing your teeth reduce your risk of heart disease? The link between oral health and the heart has sometimes been mooted, but it’s an idea that is beginning to gain ground.
One theory is that, as periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, the inflammatory processes could also be affecting the heart.
New research is currently underway to see if there really is a link, although it is certainly not the only theory around. Some believe the link is cigarette-smoking – non-smokers do not show any association between periodontal disease and heart problems whereas, among smokers, periodontitis is associated with all the diseases that smoking causes.
One study found that periodontitis was linked to a thickening of the arteries (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 2001; 21: 1816-22).