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.