The jury is still out on whether or not oral health directly affects cardiovascular health. However, it is difficult to ignore the similarities between gum disease and heart disease. Additionally, the similarities in the disease-causing bacteria are also apparent.
Oral bacteria that cause periodontal disease (gum disease) have been found in hearts affected by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries in which plaque is deposited on the inner wall.
Endocarditis is the infection of the inner lining of the heart valves and chambers. Bacteria that spread through the bloodstream from other parts of the body cause this infection. Sometimes this bacteria comes from the oral cavity.
Inflammation is a common problem in gum disease and heart disease. In moderate to severe gum disease, there is an increase in the c-reactive protein. This protein increase is also what is measured in inflammation affecting the whole body.
Studies have also shown those with moderate to severe gum disease are at increased risk for heart and blood vessel problems.
As with most health conditions, prevention is key! Taking care of your oral health is a great way to also protect your heart health.
Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush is the most effective way to clean your teeth. The power motion of the bristles does a more thorough job removing bacteria from our teeth than we can do with a manual toothbrush. The motion of the bristles also stimulates the gum tissue, therefore contributing to better gum health.
We know our patients grow tired of hearing us say “Floss, floss, floss.” Fortunately, there are other tools these days that are as effective, or almost as effective, as flossing. Water flossers have been proven to remove bacteria and stimulate gum tissue just as flossing does. Go between brushes or soft-picks are also effective tools. Feel free to ask us about any alternative methods to clean in between your teeth!
We at Adams and Cheek Dentistry commit ourselves to our patients’ systemic and oral health. For more information about other systemic problems that may arise from poor oral health, click here. You may call us at 919.866.1360 with any questions or to schedule an appointment. You may also click here to reach us online.