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Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts.

The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Poor oral hygiene and excess sugar consumption can lead to periodontal disease where the supporting bone around the teeth is destroyed. It is thought that chronic infection from gum disease can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to heart disease through a process called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Despite convincing evidence linking poor oral health to premature heart disease, the most recent UK national guidance on the prevention of CVD at population level mentions the reduction of sugar only indirectly.

Dr Ahmed Rashid, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, who co-wrote the paper, said: "As well as having high levels of fats and salt, junk foods often contain a great deal of sugar and the effect this has on oral health may be an important additional mechanism by which junk food elevates risk of CVD." He added: "Among different types of junk food, soft drinks have raised particular concerns and are the main source of free sugar for many individuals."

The authors refer to the well-publicized New York 'soda ban' controversy which has brought the issue to the attention of many. Yet, they point out, in the UK fizzy drinks remain commonly available in public areas ranging from hospitals to schools. Dr Rashid said: "The UK population should be encouraged to reduce fizzy drink intake and improve oral hygiene. Reducing sugar consumption and managing dental problems early could help prevent heart problems later in life."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Bains, M. A. Rashid. Junk food and heart disease: the missing tooth. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2013; 106 (12): 472 DOI: 10.1177/0141076813512297

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202105301.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2013, December 2). Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202105301.htm
SAGE Publications. "Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202105301.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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