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Oral Health and Heart Disease

The billions of bacteria and other microscopic critters that live in the mouth influence the health of teeth and gums. They also cause problems for the heart and blood vessels.

Researchers have found a strong correlation between the oral health and heart disease.

Poor oral health has been debated as a possible cause of heart disease for many years.

One hypothesis is that bacteria from the oral cavity spread throughout the body, worsening other inflammatory conditions, like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.

The mouth can be a good warning signpost.

Dentists in dental clinics in Delhi are making a point to explain their patients that problems in the mouth can cause diseases in the body as oral and systemic health are interrelated.

Many studies have shown a connection between gum disease (periodontitis) and other serious conditions, including heart disease.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up. In some patients who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation.

In others, the inflammation doesn’t clear up properly. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time.

People with gum disease (periodontitis) often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk, but their heart and blood vessels, too.

Research suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and that people with chronic gum disease have increased thickness of their neck blood vessels.

Dentists in India are regularly counselling patients about maintaining their oral health as bacteria from your mouth can travel to your body and can cause serious diseases.

In people with periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth) release bacteria into the bloodstream. Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere.

This plaque can lead to heart attack.

Preventing gum disease (periodontitis) can prevent heart disease or treating gum disease can lessen atherosclerosis (the buildup of artery-clogging plaque that can result in a heart attack or stroke).

Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age, poor nutrition and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body

Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Dentists in Delhi educate patients that how diseases of the blood vessels and mouth can occur simultaneously as some bacteria that are present only in mouth are responsible for heart diseases like infective endocarditis.

Gum disease has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.

Treating gum disease can go a long way in lessening the impact of coronary artery disease or to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Prevention is the best medicine. Regular healthy habits like brushing your teeth properly and looking after your gums can prevent and treat gum disease, improve your overall health and help to reduce your risk of health problems, such as heart disease.

Therefore, it’s important to take care of your teeth and gums.

There are proven ways to reduce your risk such as

  • quitting smoking,
  • maintaining a healthy weight.
  • controlling their blood pressure, and
  • staying active

And if you already have one or both of these conditions, these strategies can help reduce their impact.

  • Brush and floss regularly. To remove plaque-forming bacteria, brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, and don’t skip the floss.
  • Choose a healthy diet, rich in essential nutrients (especially vitamins A and C). Reduce or eliminate sugar and starches. Limit between meal snacks.
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Even smokeless tobacco can destroy your gums and increase your chance of heart disease.
  • Visit the dentist for regular cleaning’s and check-ups. Your dentist can identify signs of systemic illness and catch gum disease early on. Always tell your dentist your medical history, current conditions and any medications you’re taking.

Dental clinics in India have seen an increased awareness for maintaining oral health among the public in the recent past.

The state of your teeth affects your overall health, with gum disease linked to lots of health problems in other parts of the body. Therefore maintaining your oral health can prevent heart disease and improve your overall health.

Posted By – Dr. Shriya