Can Bad Teeth Cause Heart Problems?
The relationship between oral health and heart disease is rooted in the transmission of bacteria and germs from the mouth to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. These microorganisms, upon reaching the heart, can attach to damaged areas, potentially causing inflammation and leading to conditions like endocarditis—an infection of the heart’s inner lining. Moreover, the American Heart Association suggests that cardiovascular issues such as atherosclerosis (artery blockage) and stroke can be influenced by the inflammatory response triggered by oral bacteria.
Who Is at Risk?
Individuals with persistent gum conditions like gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease face the highest risk of heart disease due to poor oral health, particularly if these conditions go unnoticed or are not properly managed. Bacteria linked to gum infections in the mouth can pass into the bloodstream, where they cling to blood vessels, heightening the risk of cardiovascular issues. Even without obvious gum inflammation, poor oral hygiene and the buildup of plaque, also known as biofilm, increase the likelihood of gum disease. These bacteria can also travel through the bloodstream, leading to higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it’s in its early stages, if:
-Your gums hurt to the touch and are red and swollen.
-You see pus or other infection-related symptoms near your teeth and gums.
-Eating, brushing, and flossing cause bleeding gums.
-You have the appearance of your gums “pulling away” from your teeth.
-You often detect a sour taste in your mouth or have terrible breath. Perhaps you feel that a few of your teeth are coming loose or are shifting apart from the rest of your teeth.
The best defence against the onset of gum disease is good oral hygiene and routine dental exams.
Brushing Technique: Brush your teeth after meals, ensuring to clean all tooth surfaces for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Include brushing your tongue to eliminate bacteria.
Toothbrush Care: Change your toothbrush every three months, observing for bent bristles, and air-dry it between uses to reduce bacteria buildup.
Flossing Protocol: Use a fresh section of floss for every tooth when you floss every day before brushing. Plaque and food fragments between teeth and along the gum line can be removed with flossing.
Use of Mouthwash: To lessen plaque and target areas that are missed when brushing, use a mouthwash that contains fluoride after lunch. After using mouthwash, wait thirty minutes before eating or drinking anything.
Dental Check-ups: Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and professional cleaning to detect and remove hardened plaque.
Consistent oral hygiene, proper toothbrush care, daily flossing, strategic mouthwash use, and regular dental check-ups are crucial in preventing gum disease.
In conclusion, the intricate link between oral health and heart disease underscores the importance of maintaining a proactive approach to oral hygiene. This connection, which involves the transmission of bacteria from the mouth to the bloodstream and its potential impact on heart-related conditions, emphasises the significance of early recognition of gum disease signs. Through vigilant oral care practices—such as proper brushing techniques, daily flossing, strategic mouthwash use, and regular dental check-ups at your local orthodontic clinic — one can effectively prevent gum disease. Prioritising oral health not only ensures a healthy mouth but also contributes to overall well-being, potentially mitigating risks related to heart health.