Oral Health and Your Heart

by Dr. McBride | Date Published: 2017-03-13

What Should I Be Concerned About?

Researchers have now shown links between periodontal infections and other diseases throughout the body. Current studies suggest that there is a link between periodontal (gum) disease, heart disease and other health conditions. In fact, research suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than hypertension, smoking, cholesterol, gender and age. New studies suggest that people who have gum disease are at a higher risk for heart attacks. The American Heart Association reports that as many as 50! Of heart attacks are being triggered by oral pathogens (bad bacteria)*. It is now no secret that oral health affects your overall health.

How Can Gum Disease Affect My Overall Health?

The body’s blood travels through an arterial system that goes to all parts of the body. The blood that travels through infected gums can transport the pathogens and their waste products to all parts of the body, including the heart. Oral pathogens can be dislodged and enter the bloodstream during tasks as simple as brushing, flossing or even chewing. Research shows that risk varies according to the level of gum infection. The worse the infection, the more likely the bacteria are to become blood borne.

Protocols That Work

Infected gums are essentially raw and an open door to the bloodstream. When bacteria become dislodged, they enter the blood stream and travel to other parts of the body. Once bacteria get into the arterial flow, they can irritate them in the same way that they irritate gum tissue. This causes an immune reaction resulting in the formation of arterial plaque which can cause their hardening and block blood flow. Compromised blood flow to your heart can cause a heart attack. Also, arterial plaque can come loose and travel to other parts of the body. If blockage occurs in the brain, it can cause a stroke. The Dental Wellness Center has developed diagnostic protocols that show the exact type and amount of bad oral bacteria with treatment and preventive protocols to eliminate them in a measurable manner. We work with cardiologists and heart surgeons who want to know that their upcoming heart surgery patients will not be compromised through having gum disease, both before and after surgery.

What Should I Do?

Keep your mouth healthy by having it professionally assessed at The Dental Wellness Center. Gum disease can be a serious infection that should always be taken seriously. Although gum disease can often show few or no symptoms, watch for a pink tooth brush, bleeding on flossing or blood in the sink during your home care. Also, most breath (oral malodor) problems are caused by bad oral bacteria. The Center offers gum disease elimination programs that are suited to the individual needs of each patient through professional testing and treatment technologies that pinpoint its exact nature, improves oral and general health - with sweet breath to boot!

*American Heart Association Journal, Circulation – March, 2013

Sources: The American Heart Association: www.americanheart.org JADA (Journal of the

American Dental Association) American Dental Hygienists' Association: www.adha.org

CDA Journal v. 28, No. 3, March 2000 National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial

Research: www.nidcr.nih.gov

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