Poor dental hygiene and risk of cardiovascular disease

When we talk about dental hygiene, we are not just referring to the teeth; Our gums also play a very important role in preventing or causing heart disease, diseases that can be precipitated if periodontal conditions are not detected early. The great danger is that it progresses silently and then significantly affects the heart.

It is increasingly common to hear that oral health is essential for general health. More than 80% of the population lives with periodontal disease (who affects the teeth). This may be because when the teeth are not causing pain or showing signs of problems, the patient avoids going to the dentist and their doctor visits rarely focus on oral health.

According to the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), there are now two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, studies show that if you have gum disease, whether it’s moderate or advanced, you have a higher risk of heart disease than someone with healthy gums. And second, because oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a variety of diseases and conditions, including those of the heart.

Why are dental hygiene and heart disease linked?

Oral health and heart disease are linked by the spread of bacteria and other germs from the mouth to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they stick to any area and cause inflammation. This can lead to conditions like endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), other cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and strokes have also been linked to inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth.

Who is at risk?

Patients with chronic gum disease, such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease, are at increased risk of heart disease caused by poor oral health, especially if it goes undiagnosed and untreated. Bacteria associated with gum infection in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, where they attach to blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Even if you don’t have swollen gums, poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup put you at risk. Bacteria can also migrate into the bloodstream, causing the indicator C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in the blood vessels, to increase. According to the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), it can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Symptoms

According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it’s in its early stages, if:

· Your gums are red, swollen and painful to the touch;

· Your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss your teeth;

· You see pus or other signs of infection on your gums and teeth;

· The gums seem to “walk away” from the teeth;

· You often have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth;

· Some of your teeth are loose or some teeth seem to be pulling away from other teeth.

Prevention measures

Good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are the best way to protect yourself against developing gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth to properly reach the surface of each tooth. He also recommends using an ADA-approved toothpaste. You should also floss daily and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.

By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself against developing a link between oral health and heart disease, while maintaining a healthy, clean, beautiful smile throughout your life. .

We invite you to share this article so that others know how oral health, periodontitis and cardiovascular disease are linked and learn how to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dr Randy Montinard

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