A new study in the American Journal of Medicine is taking the link between inflammation and oral health a step further. Taking into account that the inflammation from oral conditions such as gum disease (periodontitis) can cause or contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, the study aimed to find out if reducing plaque in the oral cavity would have a positive effect on reducing the instance of coronary issues in the body.
To conduct the study, researchers used 100 volunteers. Fifty were asked to use a plaque-reducing toothpaste, while the remaining 50 were asked to brush with a regular toothpaste for 30 days per group. What researchers found was that, among those who used the plaque-reducing toothpaste, C-reactive Protein, or CRP, levels were dramatically lower. CRP is a marker in the body that indicates high inflammation.
Dr. Raul Garcia is a dentist practicing in Miami, Florida. He says the connection between CRP reduction and inflammation makes sense.
“One of the first indicators of gum disease is swollen gums,” he says. “That inflammation is due to the bacteria present in infected gums, and that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere in the body.”
According to Garcia, this is positive news, as brushing with a plaque-reducing toothpaste may help protect the body from a variety of diseases and illnesses.
“If it’s as simple as swapping toothpaste brands to reduce your risk of serious conditions like stroke and diabetes, isn’t it worth it to do so?” asks Garcia.
It is important to note that the reduction in CRP levels was highest in those who already exhibited elevated levels of systematic inflammation.
While the study did use a specific brand of toothpaste to conduct the CRP research, researchers would now like to broaden the scope of the study and incorporate more toothpaste brands and a wider range of participants.
Thankfully, according to Garcia, you don’t need to wait to reap the benefits of the study. Whether you have systemic inflammation or not, you can start using a plaque-fighting toothpaste now to help protect the teeth and gums and reduce inflammation in the body. This will not only improve your smile, but also reduce your risk of systemic inflammation, thus reducing your chance of experiencing a host of serious illnesses.