23 Sep How Poor Dental Habits May Contribute to Cardiovascular Disease
According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all adults in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease. Among the many causes that point to heart health issues, periodontal disease has been shown to be a significant predictor of certain coronary events. Here’s how poor dental habits may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Periodontal disease is a systemic disease caused by persistent and unchecked inflammation of gums. In the absence of proper dental care, the 400+ distinct species of bacteria living in our mouth increase plaque build-up which can lead to inflammation. Below the gum line, the bacteria thrive, traveling through our bloodstream, affecting other organs and contributing to extended health and wellness issues. Periodontal disease has been definitively linked to diabetes and glycemic control and may contribute to respiratory infections and high blood pressure, among other systemic conditions.
Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to your heart. As periodontal and other bacteria travel through the blood, damage begins to occur inside these arteries. Abnormal buildup of plaque occurs, and the arteries begin to narrow, restricting blood flow which may cause tight chest pain and difficulty breathing. Known as angina, these are the beginning signs of a potentially deadly event – a heart attack.
The presence of periodontal bacteria and plaque has been found in the atheromatous plaque of persons who have suffered a heart attack. While the exact mechanisms of action are not completely understood and the evidence is not conclusive, research dating back to the 1980s has consistently found the presence of periodontal bacteria in coronary plaque. In some studies, it was estimated that the overall adjusted risk of stroke in subjects with periodontitis was almost 1.5 times higher than in subjects without periodontal disease. Although the impact of periodontal therapy must be further investigated, evidence suggests that having periodontitis may contribute to cardiovascular events and stroke in predisposed people.
Simple Preventive Care
Periodontal disease is a chronic yet significant oral condition that can have long-term effects on health. While it may sound scary, the preventive steps one can take are quite simple. Brush your teeth 2x per day for 2 minutes each time. Floss and rinse with mouthwash. When consuming acidic foods which can cause damage to the enamel, rinse the mouth with water afterward, and chew sugarless gum between meals to keep teeth clean. Twice annual checkups are important to inspect the health of your mouth both above and below the gumline. Additionally, periodontal disease can be treated by your dentist and your periodontist very effectively.
Eating good foods and being physically active are important daily activities to keep you in tip-top shape. Kick-off your morning by brushing your teeth and end your day doing the same. This trifecta is a personal commitment that can have a positive, long-term impact on your health.
Contact us today to schedule your regular cleaning and checkup. At Imperial Dental Center your overall health and wellness is our top priority.