Junk food and heart disease: The missing tooth
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 in this article. 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. The authors refer to the well-publicised 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.
Editorial: Amardeep Bains and
Mohammed Ahmed Rashid
Junk food and heart disease: the missing tooth J R Soc Med December 2013 106: 472-473, doi:10.1177/0141076813512297