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You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the oral cavity, particularly the periodontal tissue, is not in any way isolated from the rest of the body. Due to the interdependence of the human body’s organs, illness conditions in one organ might affect the other body organ. There are billions of microscopic bacteria living in our mouths, and they have a symbiotic relationship with us that can either harm or benefit our dental health. The condition of our hearts may also be impacted by these microorganisms. Poor oral health is recognized as one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Problematic oral bacteria in people’s mouths increase their risk of heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries. 

Dental and oral health is an essential part of overall health and well-being. Oral health is about more than cavities and gum disease. Periodontal disease, a sign of poor oral health, and cardiac disorders are known to be related. Poor oral health for a long period is called periodontitis. It is been determined that poor oral health can have a profound effect on general health, and several oral diseases are known to be associated with cardiovascular diseases. 

Cardiovascular disease is the umbrella term for a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels including coronary heart diseases (angina/mini-stroke), cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease. Cardiovascular disease has the highest mortality rate among non-infectious diseases in the world among adults of working age. 

 MECHANISMS LINKING PERIODONTAL DISEASE WITH HEART DISEASES   

Following are the possible mechanisms linking periodontal health with heart diseases:  

  1. Bacterial 
  2. A considerable surface area of ulcerated pocket epithelium is present in patients with advanced periodontitis, and this epithelium interacts with the subgingival biofilms. There are numerous bacterial species present in this biofilm that can trigger processes that result in coronary events. 
  3. Hyperlipidemia 
  4. Low-density lipids (LDLs) are significant risk factors for heart disease. The oxidized version of these lipids is more atherosclerotic than the non-oxidized form. The various inflammatory processes arising from periodontal disease could enhance such oxidative processes. 
  5. Inflammatory mechanisms 
  6. A periodontal disease initiates a wide range of inflammatory changes in gingival connective tissues which result in raised WBC (white blood cells), C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen, all of these inflammatory markers can predispose a patient to Heart disease. 

How is heart disease related to your oral health?

Oral health is associated with heart disease in the following ways 

Transfer of bacteria from the oral cavity to other parts via bloodstream: 

  • Gingivitis and periodontal bacteria enter blood arteries and create inflammation and tiny blood clots, which directly harm your heart and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining, serves as one specific illustration. The majority of the time, this occurs when germs from other parts of your body, including the mouth, move via the bloodstream and attach to the heart. Bacterial endocarditis causes excessive damage to the heart and if not treated properly can lead to death.  
  • Moreover, these bacteria release toxins and elevate C-reactive protein, which causes fatty plaque to form in the arteries, and that fatty plaque can form cloth which can lead to Heart Attacks and Strokes in patients 

Correlation between tooth loss and heart diseases: 

There is a connection between tooth loss patterns and coronary artery disease 

Oral health common risk factors: 

Both periodontitis and myocardial infarction are of multifactorial origin and involve a series of risk factors. some of which are common to both diseases, the reason they may occur together is due to a 3rd factor which can be a risk factor for both the conditions 

Some of the common risk factors are: 

  1. Hypertension 
  2. Smoking  
  3. Excessive body weight 
  4. Diabetes 
  5. dyslipidemia 

 Prevention

Strong evidence supports the idea that maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling routine dental appointments can lower your chance of developing heart disease. By eating a balanced diet rich in fiber fruits and vegetables, you should simultaneously work to maintain a healthy balance of good oral bacteria. Additionally, abstaining from tobacco products is advised because they raise the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as encourage the growth of hazardous oral germs. Practicing good dental hygiene, not smoking, and following a healthy diet can help prevent the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with periodontal disease from entering the bloodstream 

Cardiovascular diseases are a significant public health burden with high morbidity and mortality. Dental professionals have a responsibility to reduce the risk factors through the minimization of oral disease. Even a small reduction in risk may result in significantly improved outcomes in terms of cardiovascular health at both individual and the community level. 

Need a Dentist? Teeth Cleaning or Teeth Whitening? Request An Appointment!

Dr. Rahaf Suede, DDS at Great Lakes Smiles Dental is trusted by many patients in Plymouth and surrounding areas for comprehensive dental care. She is recognized for her high quality dental treatment and patient satisfaction. Contact her now for an appointment Call (734) 459-9360