Gum Disease Can Undermine Your Fitness Routine

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and that’s a great time to understand the connection between periodontal disease and stroke risk.

People with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those who don’t have gum disease.

Many professionals will tell you to eat healthy and exercise more to reduce your stroke risk. But did you know that unhealthy gums can undermine the physical activity you’re doing to promote your health?

This year for Stroke Awareness Month, we’re focusing on this relationship between gum disease and exercise benefits.

Research conducted by Sydney University Professor Jorg Eberhard and published in “The International Journal of Cardiology” in 2014 showed severe gum disease could undermine one of the major benefits of sports activities: improving your biological age, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Professor Eberhard told the Herald he wants to put the “mouth back into the health” by showing the links between poor oral health and the rest of our bodies. We couldn’t agree more.

Routine exercise prevents the parts of DNA that are necessary for cell renewal from shortening as much as they do in people who don’t exercise. Sometimes exercise can even reverse that process.

Research discovered that people with healthy gums who also exercised received the life-extending benefits to their DNA, while people who had severe periodontitis did not receive those benefits.

“We continue to be fascinated by all of the research that connects systemic illnesses to gum health,” says Collegeville periodontist Dr. David DiGiallorenzo. “The studies are so numerous, and we talk about these connections so much in our office, that I hope we’re getting the message across that overall health starts in the mouth.”

Health observances such as Stroke Awareness Month give us a timely reason to offer reminders of this connection.

Perhaps it isn’t too far-fetched to believe there will come a day when scientists recommend that people looking to improve their health through diet and exercise schedule an appointment with their periodontist first.

“It makes sense that someone wanting to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle might begin with their oral health,” Dr. DiGiallorenzo says. “Oral health is connected to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, premature babies and even depression. Oral health is a root problem for a variety of ailments.”

Learn More

Are you interested in improving your health? Call our office today to schedule a comprehensive exam. We take a whole-body approach to oral health by offering nutritional therapy and smoking cessation assistance, and we even have a wellness center that offers services such as medical detoxification, acupressure and reflexology. We can help you better understand the connection between oral and systemic health and get you on the path to improved overall health.