Clinical research studies now suggest that effective brushing and flossing every day may do more than preserve your teeth.
Bacteria in the mouth are strongly suspected of reducing immunity to diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Several forms of bacteria are common in the mouth and the ones that appear to pose the most heart risk are members of the species “bacterides gingivalus,” associated with gum disease.
Scientists are the University of North Carolina, The University of Minnesota and the State University of New York at Buffalo are presently exploring the link between gum disease and heart disease.
Data indicates that people with periodontal disease are more likely to develop heart disease than those who do not have periodontal (gum) problems.
The researchers theorize that the bacteria that cause plaque also may cause while blood cells to release clotting factors and proteins leading to heart attacks.
There is speculation that bad gums could be as strong a risk factor for heart attacks as smoking cigarettes. These new findings are the first direct evidence in humans of a theory that bacterial infections can start the development of plaques on the walls of the arteries that in turn reduce the blood flow to the heart. Oral bacteria are frequently found in heart attacks, and it has been shown that some oral bacteria can cause blood platelets to group together.
This kind of research brings dentistry more in the realm of general health and can demonstrate that a person’s oral and gum condition could be related to the other diseases that a person may have, or may develop.
Medications, poor nutrition, heredity, hormonal changes, crowded and missing teeth, partial dentures, bruxism and mouth breathing can all contribute to periodontal (gum) disease.
These findings clearly indicate the need for adults to be screened routinely for periodontal (gum) disease so that it can be detected in its early stages, and when the disease is present, to have the appropriate dental therapy required to reduce the bacteria in the mouth.
Yours for dental health,
Dr. Russell Grover