Everybody knows that you’re more likely to get cavities and gum disease if you don’t brush your teeth. However, scientists have recently found that heart disease risk is also connected to overgrowth of oral bacteria. Without regular dental hygiene, around 700 different kinds of bacteria increase in number and can result in unhealthy gums with cracks that let bacteria enter the blood stream. Some of these bacteria may attach to platelets in the blood, increasing the chances of clots developing and leading to stroke or heart attack.
How Oral Bacteria Threaten the Heart
The warmth and moisture in the mouth makes it a perfect incubator for bacteria that are potentially deadly if they get into the blood stream. After these bacteria enter the blood vessels and are encased by platelets there, they become invisible to the body’s immune system and are resistant to antibiotics. This means that they can more easily reach the heart, where they could lead to infectious heart disease.
Antibiotics Don’t Always Work
In the past, antibiotic therapy has been used to eliminate bacteria in the blood stream. Now, more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, and medical professionals are trying to fight this trend by prescribing antibiotics less frequently. Still, doctors are increasingly recognizing that bacteria could play a major role in many cases of heart disease. Regardless of how healthy a patient may seem, the bacteria in their mouth could kill them if they don’t take care of their teeth.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Now that experts are aware of the role oral bacteria may play in cases of heart disease, they are emphasizing the importance of proper dental hygiene. Gum disease hasn’t been proven to cause heart problems so far, but it’s still smart to take care of your teeth, especially in light of these findings. For example, you should brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss at least once. Finally, be sure to visit your dentist once every six months.
If you live in the Bloomington-Normal area, feel free to call Cottage Dental Care at (309) 828-1463 with any questions you may have or to schedule a check-up. We offer complete oral health care through preventative techniques, educating our patients, lending a listening ear, and truly caring for your comfort and concerns. Our team works hard to provide the best dental care for our patients in a relaxed, friendly environment. We want to make sure your experience with us is as comfortable as possible. At Cottage Dental Care, you will be treated like family!
Alert on Heart Monitor
©2011 JohanSwanepoel | Photodune.net