Can your mouth tell on you? An eye doctor can effectively look inside the eye and tell what health conditions you have. Can your Gettysburg dentist look inside your mouth and warn you of certain health risks? Recent studies suggest that common problems such as cavities, missing teeth and periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology warned that people with periodontal disease may be twice as likely to have heart disease complications.
If you crunch some numbers--heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women, claiming as many as one million lives annually-- this piece of enlightenment may have far-reaching implications. Can periodontal disease increase risks of heart disease and will preventing or treating periodontal disease help to reduce risks of heart disease? While the answer is not as simple as stating it in an equation, here are some information to consider.
Oral Bacteria May Cause Narrowing of arteries
Periodontal disease results from unchecked bacterial activity in the mouth. Neglect or poor oral hygiene cause plaque (a sticky clear residue of bacteria, acid and food particles) to build up around the gums surrounding the teeth, causing inflammation and eventually destroying the structure that holds up the teeth. The bacteria don't just stay in the mouth, they may enter the blood stream through the gums. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria may deposit themselves on the fatty plaque already in the bloodstream, narrowing and hardening the blood vessels. This buildup will eventually block the flow of blood, increasing risks of heart attack or stroke.
Oral Bacteria May Trigger Inflammation
Inflammation has been blamed for a number of diseases, including heart disease, arthritis and periodontal disease. When the body fights against invading bacteria, inflammation (together with swelling) often results. Applies this logic to oral bacteria traveling through the body—they trigger inflammation, causing the blood cells to swell and clog the arteries. Narrowing of the arteries increases cardiovascular risks.
Although the exact dynamics of the connection need more investigation, the correlation is still important in the overall health picture. Since the symptoms of heart disease don’t necessarily show up in the early stages, such as the hardening and narrowing of arteries, any other telltale signs help. For instance, it's easier to spot bleeding gums and check for other related health risks, including heart disease.
If keeping your mouth healthy may reduce risks of heart disease, contact us at Samuels Dental Arts P.C.
for a comprehensive oral exam to determine the state of your oral health.