6 Ways To Maintain Healthy Triglycerides

When thinking about the common types of fat (also called lipids) in the body, people are often concerned about their good cholesterol or high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), as well as bad cholesterol or low density lipoproteins (LDLs). But experts at the National Institutes of Health state that triglycerides, another type of lipid, are even more common. And like bad cholesterol, a high triglyceride level can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Drinking too much alcohol, taking certain medications, being overweight or obese, and being a diabetic whose blood sugars are uncontrolled are all reasons to have an elevated level.

Because the body stores excess calories by turning them into triglycerides, eating more calories than you need (especially excess sugar) is a major culprit. On the other hand, you can have more healthy triglyceride levels by making the right changes. These include quitting smoking, cutting down on sugar and highly sweetened prepared foods, cutting down on alcohol, and getting more exercise. It’s also important to make sure your thyroid is not underactive (usually with a simple blood test) because this also can cause high levels of triglycerides.

If more help is needed, your health care provider may prescribe medications. But what many people may not know is that good dental care is also associated with a healthy triglyceride level, and helps to limit potential damage to your heart and blood vessels as well as to your teeth.

1. Prevent Gingivitis

Gingivitis can happen when a person’s gums develop inflammation because of bacteria. While some bacteria in the mouth is normal, it can mingle with food and create a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque can harden and become tartar if it’s not removed by good oral care. Bacteria in plaque and tarter invade the gums (gingiva) and produce destructive enzymes. This can cause gums to swell and bleed. If not treated, gingivitis can worsen, becoming periodontitis which can erode bones that surround the teeth.

A number of researchers have found that higher lipid levels in the blood is associated with a higher risk for gingivitis. One possible explanation is high normal triglycerides or cholesterol triggers the white blood cells and other chemicals in the body that ordinarily fight disease. This reaction increases inflammation in the body, including the gums, and makes a person more likely to develop gingivitis. Another possible explanation is that someone who already has gingivitis develops chronic inflammation. In addition to damaging the gums and teeth, chronic inflammation changes the way fat is digested and used which raises the amount of lipids in the blood. Either way, preventing gingivitis may be important to keeping triglycerides and other lipids at healthier levels.