Good heart health begins in your mouth

“Renew You” Challenge – This weekly challenge is about how heart health begins in your mouth.
Your digestive tract (what I like to call the gut) begins in your mouth. The thought, smell or sight of food triggers the release of amylase enzymes in the mouth to begin the digestion of carbohydrates. The chewing process is also important for the physical breakdown of foods and mixing them with amylase enzyme in saliva.

But guess what, there is much more to the mouth than saliva and teeth. There is a bacterial balance that can contribute to the health of the rest of the body, in a somewhat similar way as it exists in the intestine.

This is a relatively new concept and one that I find interesting. Certain pathogenic bacteria haven been known to cause the buildup of plaque and the development of gum disease. This is not new news. But what is new, is that these bacteria (and thus, gum disease) are linked to the development of heart disease.

A recent study has found that these bacteria are actually able to get into the bloodstream directly from the mouth. (Have you heard of leaky gut syndrome? This could be called leaky gum syndrome). These renegade bacteria trigger the development of blood clots, which lead to heart disease.

We can no longer look at different parts of the body and see them as separate. Everything is interconnected, and what happens in one area of the body has an effect on another. This is especially true in the digestive tract, due to its function, location, and direct connections to so many parts of the body.

So brush off that dental floss if it’s looking a little dusty. Everyday flossing, cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates, and brushing at least twice a day are great ways to keep your heart (and your body) healthy.