Why is tooth decay a greater factor in causing heart attacks than cholesterol?

There are many myths out there about the importance of reducing cholesterol to decrease heart disease.  Well some of the most surprising facts are these:

Cholesterol is a minor player in heart disease.

Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks.

Half of heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol.

Half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts.

Research has been done that indicates that cholesterol plays a key role in cell signaling, and it may be very important to  other functions of the cell as well.

Lowering cholesterol has an extremely limited benefit. Research was done in the 1990’s in France where they took 2 groups of men who had high risks of heart disease.  All of them had had previous heart attacks.  They also had high stress, didn’t exercise and had high cholesterol.  Half of the men at the American Heart Association Diet with low saturated fat and cholesterol, and the other half ate a Mediterranean diet high in fish oils  Omega 3’s, vegetables and monounsaturated fat.  The study was stopped midway because the Mediterranean group reduced  heart attacks by 70%.  The funny thing was, their cholesterol levels remained the same.

Some of the major causes of heart disease are inflammation and stress and believe it or not – SUGAR.  Sugar is more of a dietary danger than fat alone.  Sugar will cause you to become more resistant to insulin, which will cause you to accumulate more fat, which causes more inflammation, which in turn causes more damage to the arteries.  The damage to the arteries results in plaque on the arterial walls and an increased risk for heart disease.

Bacteria in the plaque in your mouth, feed off of the sugar in your foods, and create acids which damage the tooth structure causing tooth decay.

There should be no confusion about the fact that what we put in our bodies that is bad for the teeth, is likely going to be bad for total overall health as well.

Jonny Bowder, PhD, CNS who co-wrote the book The Great Cholesterol Myth has a 7 point program to reduce the risk of heart disease:

  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
  2. Reduce sugar, grains, starches, and omega 6’s.
  3. Manage your stress.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Drink only in moderation.
  6. Don’t smoke.
  7. Supplement with antioxidants, Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Omega 3’s.

Always remember Healthy Teeth can equal a Healthy Heart which equals a health Body!

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