We all know that gum disease is linked to cardiovascular health. It’s less clear whether gum disease causes cardiovascular problems, and whether treating gum disease can lead to improved health. However a new study from the University of Sydney shows that, indeed, treating gum disease leads to improved cardiovascular health.
Nonsurgical Gum Treatment
The study was looking at the effectiveness of the simple, nonsurgical gum therapy on the thickness of arterial walls in the carotid artery. Arterial thickness is a warning sign of atherosclerosis, which is in turn the most common cause of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers found that a single treatment led to significant decreases in arterial thickness. The study looked at 273 indigenous Australians over the age of 18, and gave them a single gum treatment. Arterial thickness was measured before and after treatment at 3 and 12 months after the procedure.
Researchers stressed the level of significance of the effect. According to coauthor Dr. Michael Skilton, “The effect is comparable to a 30 per cent fall in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol — commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol — which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. It’s also equivalent to the effects of reversing four years of aging, 8 kg/m2 lower body mass index, or 25 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure.”
However, the effects were not uniformly positive. Although the thickness of the artery was reduced, the gum disease treatment didn’t have a significant impact on rigidity of the artery, which is another warning sign of atherosclerosis.
Gum Treatment Helps Your Whole Body
Although this finding is particularly important for indigenous Australians, who have worse gum health and cardiovascular health overall, it’s important for all of us. It shows the potential of gum disease treatment to help your overall health.