Heart Disease & Poor Oral Health

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Studies show that pathogens from the mouth can infiltrate the bloodstream and cause blood clots and major cardiac issues.

A study that was published in 2018 with data from almost a million participants with over 65,000 cardiac events (such as heart attack) identified a significant link between poor dental health and coronary heart disease after accounting for age.  Therefore, is it important to see your Las Vegas Smile dentist at least twice a year.

How are heart disease and poor oral health connected?

  • -The bacteria responsible for gum disease and periodontal disease can spread to other parts of the body and inflame or even destroy the blood vessels. The result might be the formation of blood clots, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Evidence for this notion comes from the detection of oral bacteria spores in atherosclerotic blood arteries located in distant parts of the body.
  • -Inflammation, a natural part of the body’s immunological response to bacterial infection, triggers a chain reaction that damages blood vessels all over the body, including the heart and brain.
  • -Hypotheses suggest that lack of access to healthcare and inactivity are also possible causes. Oral and cardiovascular disease may be more prevalent among those who lack access to health care or who don’t prioritize their health.

According to an article from The Mayo Clinic, studies have shown:

  • -Inflammation of the gums, also known as periodontitis, has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • -Bacterial infections in the bloodstream can harm heart valves, and this risk is increased by poor oral health. Those who have had artificial heart valves may find that maintaining good oral hygiene is of utmost importance.
  • -Heart disease and tooth loss follow similar trends.
  • -Evidence suggests that patients with diabetes can benefit from periodontal care and that there is a link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

How it happens

Science Daily reports: A member of the Society for General Microbiology claims that bacteria that cause plaque in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and raise the risk of heart attack. Brushing and flossing regularly can keep mouth bacteria in check, but if you don’t, they can cause a lot of trouble, as explained by Professor Howard Jenkinson of the University of Bristol. According to him, “poor oral hygiene can cause bleeding gums, allowing bacteria to escape into the circulatory system, where they can create blood clots which can eventually result in heart disease.”

Plaque and gum issues are both caused by streptococcus bacteria, which thrive in the mouth in communities known as “biofilms.” The Streptococcus bacterium, once released into the circulatory system, can use a surface protein called PadA as a tool to push platelets in the blood to attach together and shape clots, as demonstrated by researchers at the University of Bristol who teamed up with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)’s scientists.

Professor Jenkinson explains that bacteria utilize the formation of blood clots for their own selfish purposes. If the platelets clump together tight enough, they can trap the germs within. The immune system and any drugs used to treat an infection are both shielded from this, he explained. Platelet clumping, in addition to aiding the bacteria, can lead to growths on the heart valves (endocarditis), tiny blood clots, or blood artery inflammation that can cut off blood flow to the brain and heart.

Healthier Options & Tips for Valentine’s Day

Dental Tips for Valentines Day

On the year’s most romantic holiday, the most popular gift to bestow your sweetheart is sweets.  Here are a few tips from your local dentist to satisfy your sweetheart without compromising their oral health.

Dark Chocolate & Teeth
Dark chocolate is known for being the “healthier” option, it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.   Studies have shown Cocoa contains valuable nutrients and minerals that may help prevent cavities and decrease the risk of tooth decay. Unlike sticky candies, dark chocolate easily dissolves in your mouth, allowing the chocolate to wash off your teeth.

Consider these additional tips for maintaining good oral health during this upcoming sweet holiday:

Brush immediately 
Brushing soon after eating candy helps avoid plaque and acid formation from sugar.  If a toothbrush & toothpaste are not available at that time you can simply swish and rinse teeth thoroughly using water.  Also using mouthwash is another temporary solution to help avoid tooth decay.

Avoid hard and sticky candy.
Sweets with higher sugar content cling longer on your teeth, causing harmful effects to your oral health. The faster it dissolves, the less time it takes to rinse away leftover sugar debris. Hard candy can chip or even break your teeth.

It is recommended to choose softer foods that provide plenty of nutrients and minerals and are not just sugar chunks. On the other hand, sticky candy can get stuck between teeth and gums, making it harder to remove. Such candies are not easily broken down with your saliva (at times, not even with brushing), staying in your mouth for an unhealthy amount of time.

Make it a one-time event
From an oral health perspective, having sweet treats in one sitting (and then brushing) is better than munching on candy for the entire day, making it more likely for bacteria to produce acid that causes tooth decay.

Moderation is key
The more sugar you have, the risk increases for tooth decay. When considering oral health, limiting sugar consumption is the ideal solution for all. In addition, it is also helpful to avoid extra sugar content that is not naturally found in your food or diet!

As previously mentioned, dark chocolate is the healthier option, although excess consumption is menacing for overall health. Being high in calories, it is recommended to eat one to two ounces of dark chocolate in a day to achieve the best oral hygiene.

Reduce exposure time
Even though the oral damage varies for each candy, it is never a good idea to eat an excessive amount.  Choosing candies that quickly dissolve and melt away limits the amount of sugar exposure in your mouth.

Instead of sugar straws or lollipops, sugar-free candies are a better option for oral health. Plain dark chocolates are preferable over milk chocolates with a sugary filling like cherry or caramel!

Bottom Line
Valentine is the time for celebrating sentimental moments with your significant other. Also, your teeth need extra love and attention to help combat the sweets. Keep your smile bright and white by selecting healthier options, while still your satisfying cravings.

Oral Health Routine

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Routines are designed to keep things running smoothly and just like how workout routines help keep the body in shape, oral hygiene routines help keep teeth and gums healthy.  Fresh smelling breath is also a plus.

The most highly recommended oral hygiene routine involves brushing with toothpaste, flossing between teeth and using mouthwash. Each step is important and should be done correctly to fully maximize their potential.

The most frequently misused item on our list is floss. Dental floss is commonly used to pull food out from between teeth. Toothbrushes simply cannot get into the tight spaces between teeth which means that problems like plaque can freely grow there with little resistance.  Hook floss around a tooth in a ‘C’ shape then move the floss in an up and down motion. This will scrape off plaque and food debris that brushing alone may miss. It is recommended that floss be used at least once a day.

Despite not being able to get in between teeth, toothbrushes are still an important tool! Brushing gets the largest amounts of acid, bacteria, plaque and food debris off of teeth. If all these things sound bad — they are!

  • Acid can wear down tooth enamel and expose sensitive parts of the teeth.
  • Bacteria can cause either inflammation or infections. Inflammation of the gums can be painful at its best and cause illness at its worst.
  • Plaque and food debris can not only cause tooth enamel to wear down but also bad breath and discoloration.

To get the most out of this part of the routine, be sure to brush with toothpaste twice a day. It is most important that one of those times be before bed or after the final snack or meal of the day.

Lastly is the use of mouthwash or mouth rinse. Rinsing is a great way to add another protective layer to teeth as well as wash away any lingering risks to dental health but be sure to talk to a professional about what type of mouthwash to use.   Certain mouthwash and toothpaste were created to tackle specific problems so be sure to choose the right one for your specific needs.

Make a positive impact on your overall oral health by keeping a daily, consistent oral hygiene routine.  Visit a dentist at Las Vegas Smile twice a year, to keep your smile bright, teeth healthy and to address any potential issues.