3 Foods for Healthy Gums and Hearts

by | Aug 7, 2011 | Diet & Nutrition, Mouth-Body Health, Periodontal Health

Dental research indicates that people with gum disease are two to three times as likely to suffer from heart disease. So, if you have a gum problem, it might be a good idea to visit your dentist on a regular basis to protect yourself from being another statistic in the journals of medical archives.

As a result, doctors who treat gum disease and doctors who treat heart disease are teaming up with a message: dealing with one can help avoid the other. In the summer of 2009, a major heart journal and a major periodontal journal simultaneously published a consensus paper that outlines the link between the two diseases (inflammation) and urges both types of doctors to look at the body as a whole rather than a set of unrelated parts.

If you’ve been reading my articles for any length of time, you’ll realize this “message” has been around a long time. The tooth-body connection is alive and well and gaining momentum, even in conventional medical circles.

Healthy gums support a healthy heart. They also promote and contribute to a healthy body. Studies show that regular exercise and stress reduction can have anti-inflammatory effects. Besides exercising and, of course, getting regular dental checkups, choosing certain foods may help you protect both your gums and heart.

Raisins – did you know that raisins are an excellent antioxidant? They can fight the growth of certain bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease.

Green tea – did you know that drinking a daily cup of green tea can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease? In 2009, scientists found an antioxidant called catechins in green tea that impede the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria that cause gum disease.

Whole grains – did you know that eating four or more servings of whole grains a day reduces the risk of periodontal disease by 23%? A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice) when compared to refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice) digest more slowly, causing a steadier and more controlled rise in blood glucose. Avoiding spikes in blood sugar reduces the body’s production of inflammatory proteins and lowers the risk of both gum and heart disease.

As usual, the advice is simple but the results may have a significant impact on your life. What you eat and drink today can make a major difference in your overall health and wellness for tomorrow.

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