Having high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, and there is a preliminary link between heart disease and gum disease. Some research suggests that there may also be a connection between high cholesterol and gum disease. Keep reading to learn more.
Cholesterol can be both good and bad. Good cholesterol, or HDL, helps your body build cells and manufacture important hormones, while bad cholesterol, or LDL, can build up in your arteries and contribute to cardiovascular disease. HDL is found in healthy foods such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and whole grains, while LDL is primarily found in animal products including red meat, butter, cheese, egg yolks, and fried foods.
How is Cholesterol Related to Your Gums?
Research suggests that high cholesterol can affect your gum health in a few different ways. For one, the medications people take to manage high cholesterol levels can lead to oral health problems. These medications, called statins, can cause calcium to deposit inside your tooth pulp. This calcification can interfere with our ability to perform a root canal, which is an important treatment option that helps preserve teeth that have been affected by gum disease. Additionally, at least one study has found a link between high cholesterol levels and the presence of gum pockets in men. Gum pockets form when periodontal disease causes gum tissue to pull away from your teeth.
More research needs to be conducted in order to fully understand the potential link between high cholesterol and gum disease. What we do already know, though, is that the same oral bacteria that causes gum disease can spread to other parts of your body, including your heart. We also know that gum disease and heart disease share many of the same risk factors, including smoking and heavy alcohol consumption. To learn more about the link between gum health and heart health, contact our office today.