At any given time, it is estimated that up to a billion bacteria resides on each individual tooth. Now multiply that by 32 teeth, that’s indeed a lot of bacteria to keep in check. Good news is that most bacteria is harmless if kept under control with good oral hygiene. But as many as 80% of American adults battle with some form of gum disease which is easy for the bacteria to create issues in the mouth correlating to the health risks in other parts of your body including the heart.
Correlation between oral health and heart disease
The studies from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have established a clear linkbetween the gum disease and the heart disease. In fact, gum disease alone is a possible indicator of serious conditions such as the coronary artery disease or heart disease. As per further research, the risk of developing issue such as endocarditis, an infection of the endocardium which is the inner lining of your heart and cardio vascular disease that may lead to strokes, increases when the bacteria from the mouth enter and spread to the bloodstream. This is happens since all the blood in your body gets pumped through the heart and the bacteria have the opportunity to attach and damage the areas in your heart or veins by causing the clot formations.
Nonetheless, it is also the inflammation in your body’s soft tissues such as the gums and arteries that create the largest cause for concern. If left unchecked, the inflammation in the soft tissues can progress to the life threatening issues such as atherosclerosis which is hardening of the arteries, or lead to the clots that will reduce the blood flow, elevate the blood pressure and increase your risk of suffering a heart attack.
Watch for the warning signs of gum disease
Protect your smile to guard your heart. Gingivitis is a gum disease in its earliest stages and this can quickly develop into periodontitis that literally translates to inflammation around the tooth.
Watch out for the following warning signs:
- Bad breath or tooth sensitivity
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Changes in how teeth fit together
- Receding gums/ formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
Tips for decreasing risk for developing heart problems
There are many risk factors for both the heart and gum disease which are the same. Check out the following risk factors:
- Observe your gum health. If you see “pink in the sink”, that is, bleeding gums, then it is time to take action.
- Eat a balanced diet by including the foods which are good for oral health.
- Limit smoking and the use of tobacco products.
- Stay hydrated as the saliva production assists to protect the tooth enamel. The antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers and diuretics are a few examples of medications which can reduce saliva flow- the body’s best natural defense against acids that can lead to an increase of the bacteria and plaque.
- Keep the diabetes under control- because it reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. As the periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, most diabetics are at higher risk.
Remember that to you must maintain a healthy mouth. Though regular dental exams and cleanings are essential to keep a check on potentially harmful bacteria but your home care is vital for your oral health. To proactively maintain your oral and overall health as well as beautiful smile; brush twice daily and floss routinely.