Findings from a recent study conducted by researchers at the Forsyth Institute and Boston University will help to increase knowledge on the connection between the heart and mouth. The study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology determined that the use of a common oral topical medication to reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis (gum disease) can prevent vascular inflammation and reduce heart attack risk.
This is the first time a research team was able to demonstrate the efficacy of a gum disease oral remedy to reduce artery wall inflammation. Resolvin E1 a molecule known to reduce inflammation is the active ingredient behind this finding. The discovery further highlights that problems in the mouth and associated treatments can influence other body systems, in this specific case, the heart.
“Our research is helping to underscore the very real link between oral health and heart disease,” said Lead Investigator Hatice Hasturk, DDS, PhD, an associate member of Forsyth’s Department of Applied Oral Sciences and director of Forsyth’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research in a recent news release. “The general public understands the connection between heart health and overall wellness, and often takes appropriate steps to prevent heart disease. More education is needed to elevate oral wellness into the same category in light of proven connections to major health conditions.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four deaths in the United Stated are caused by heart disease, and this rate remains on the rise. The new findings indicate the further need to expand public awareness of heart disease risk factors beyond smoking, cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension, and include a focus on oral health.
Forsyth and the scientific community wants to create more public awareness of gum disease, a condition that affects 64.7 million adults in the United Stated according to the CDC, as a serious heart disease risk factor, independent from lifestyle and diet.
The Forsyth Institute is an American independent research group focused in understanding the connections between oral health and overall wellness. The researchers at Forsyth are working towards personalized medicine through innovative biomedical research and its direct application to novel devices, diagnostics, and therapies.