Brits could be risking heart disease later in life, according to new research from Bupa, which shows that almost half (46%) are unaware of the link between oral health and heart disease. The study, which questioned more than 2,000 people in the UK, found:
- 18-24 year olds were least likely to know about the link between oral health and heart disease, with three in five (60%) unaware of the risk;
- One in five (21%) of people visit the dentist less than once every two years or never.
Dr Steve Preddy, dental clinical director at Bupa UK said:
“Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria from plaque build-up on your teeth. In some patients with gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation, in turn making the artery walls inflamed and narrowed. These changes lead to heart disease in the long term. Disease-causing bacteria in the mouth may also get into the bloodstream and this is believed to damage blood vessels in the heart over time.
“There are lots of studies which suggest a strong link between oral health and overall health. Despite this, half of Brits don’t realise that those with gum disease may have an increased risk of heart disease.
“The good news is that brushing your teeth properly and looking after your gums can prevent and treat gum disease, improve your overall health and may help reduce your risk of heart disease.”
Bupa recommends the following:
- Visit your dentist regularly – ideally twice a year.
- Take care of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, not too hard, and floss regularly.
- Look out for signs of gum disease – red and swollen gums, and bleeding when you brush your teeth.
Bupa has a network of 31 dental centres across the UK, which are open to all and provide affordable, high-quality dentistry in convenient locations close to where people work. It has a target of owning 50 dental practices by 2015.
To find out more about Bupa’s dental services and dental insurance visit www.bupa.co.uk/dentalservices
Full press release on www.bupa.com