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How Heart Diseases and Tooth Decay are Linked

Paying close attention to your dental health goes beyond just preventing plaque. This is what some experts have to say about the relationship of dental health to other serious, systemic diseases such as cardiovascular issues.

Does your family have a history of cardiovascular problems? Worried about how to prevent the disease from hurting you and your loved ones? Many of us who are at higher risks of heart diseases tend to save large sums of money for emergencies without knowing that there is, in fact, a cheaper and simpler way to prevent them. It more or less costs $2 and you just have to go to the bathroom and use your toothbrush and floss. Yes, taking care of your dental condition strengthens your protection against deadly cardiovascular diseases. 

According to the spokesperson of the American Dental Association, there have been numerous studies that show the relationship between heart diseases and tooth decay but there still isn't an accurate factor that gives a common result among the observations made. It still isn't clear if heart disease is directly linked to poor dental conditions but there are bits of evidence that science still needs to put together, if they are truly connected. Another hypothesis suggests that people who have healthy teeth and gums may be just more careful with their health altogether, and that they take care of their heart just as they take care of their teeth.

But where's the common "thread" that experts see?

How could they be linked?

Atherosclerosis happens when your arteries develop hardening of fat deposits and other substances in it. Blood is not free-flowing like it should, because of the presence of plaque in your arterial walls. Note that not all plaques are made alike. The plaque that forms in your teeth has nothing to do with the plaque that causes heart disease. So where does this supposed connection take place?

When there is too much bacteria in your mouth and you develop dental caries along with it, there is a high chance of the bacteria travelling through your veins. When they do in large numbers, they clump up, creating a blockage in the arteries just as how fatty deposits prevent blood from flowing.

Another theory suggests that a natural defense of the body from bacteria is through swelling or inflammation. It is possible that the bacteria, originating from your oral region, travels through your bloodstream. When the veins detect that there is a foreign body traveling within their walls, they respond through swelling in an attempt to discontinue the flow of the bacteria. The more bacteria traveling in your bloodstream, the higher the risk of inflammation in your veins.

Obvious Health Risk-Factors

If you think you have high chances of acquiring a heart disease, you might want to consider doing the following:

  • Exercise and reach your ideal weight
  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • Have enough water intake
  • Watch over your diet to control circumstances of high-blood pressure and cholesterol

On the other hand, we must not disregard the fact that we should also take care of our teeth and gums. While it is still not clear how heart diseases and tooth decay are linked, it's never a bad thing to play safe and take good care of all the parts of our body. Especially if you have advanced cases of gingivitis and periodontitis, you may have to consider visiting your dentist twice as frequently. Prevent bacteria from traveling through your bloodstream by cleaning your dental area especially during the early stages of tooth decay. 

To learn more about your current teeth and gum condition, call your dentist for an appointment today!