If I were a dentist, or a cardiologist for that matter, I would start telling the truth. Heart disease starts in your mouth.
Why does everyone think that heart disease runs in their family? Because for most of us, we’ve had the “family history” questions asked at almost every doctor’s visit over our lifetime. Let’s set the record straight: Seventy five percent of all health concerns are related to chronic disease. Seven out of the top ten causes of death are related to chronic disease. Less than 10% of chronic disease is related to your “family history” (your genetic make-up). The other 90% is the result of your lifestyle.
This includes Heart Disease, which will kill over two thirds of all of the people that you know.
Please read and think about the following points because I want you to be healthy and live a long life.
Four Ways that Heart Disease Starts in Your Mouth
1. Food: What you put in your mouth matters
Every time that you eat, you initiate hormonal changes in your body. A critical hormone to understand is insulin. Insulin’s job is to regulate your blood sugar. Most foods (and drinks) affect blood sugar levels. If the foods that you are eating are high in sugars (refined carbohydrates, grains, dairy, starches or alcohol), they create an insulin spike. These foods are said to have a high glycemic index. They will in turn cause a reactionary spike in the hormone insulin.
Foods with a high glycemic index keep insulin levels high. Over time, cells become less sensitive to insulin, blood sugar levels go higher, the body responds by dumping more insulin into the blood stream, and a vicious cycle begins.
Chronically high blood sugar levels promote cuts or “nicks” on the inside of your blood vessel walls. This causes irritation and an immune response that results in plaque forming in your arteries. Another downward cycle begins as the lumen or “inner tube” of your blood vessels narrow, which in turn increases blood pressure which results in more “nicks”…and on it goes.
Smoking introduces toxins into your blood stream that kill you in 900 different ways. Heart Disease is just one of them. Quit today.
3. Foul Language and “Fightin’ Words”
Anger drives stress hormones like cortisol and the catecholamines through the roof. Pent-up frustration, upset and hateful language has been shown to cause negative chemical changes in your body. These hormones switch your body into a “fight or flight” state and start a cascade of physiological reactions. The body becomes a fighting – or fleeing – machine: blood pressure goes up, heart rate goes up, clotting factors are produced (in case you get injured), and blood sugar levels spike (you’ll need energy). With higher blood sugar comes higher levels of insulin – and the heart disease cycle begins again.
Remember, with every bite and every thought you create hormone changes in your body.
4. Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Poor oral hygiene can result in chronic inflammation in your blood stream. Chronic levels of low-grade inflammation promote arterial plaguing, higher blood pressure and heart attacks. Arterial plaguing is essentially an immune response. Chronic low grade or “silent” inflammation promotes atherosclerosis and heart disease. Do your gums bleed when you brush? Let that remind you of the relationship between oral hygiene and heart health.
My experience is that bad health does not “run in families,” but bad habits do. The good news is that the buck stops here. You can change your destiny with every thought, bite and brush. What do you stand to gain besides fresher breath, more friends, and a longer, happier life?