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October 2011
From Gums to Heart!
Dr.Koya Kishore
 
It is a known fact that bacteria in the mouth cause gum disease. What is worse is that they can also cause heart problems.

The research is not conclusive but red, swollen and bleeding gums may point to health problems starting from heart disease to diabetes.Sometimes,bacteria in the mouth can even travel elsewhere in your body.Left untreated, gum disease or cavities in the teeth can increase your risk of contracting a host of diseases linked to inflammation.

Billions of bacteria and other microscopic creatures that live in the mouth influence the health of teeth and gums.But do you know that they also cause problemsto your heart and blood vessels? A pertinent question in this regard is whether improving oral health prevents cardiovascular problems.

How microbes affect the heart
Scientists are exploring several mechanisms that may connect the two processes. In people with periodontitis (erosion of the tissue and bone that support teeth) chewing and brushing teeth release bacteria into their blood stream.Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in heart arteries and elsewhere. In fact, this plaque can lead to heart attack.

Oral bacteria could also harm the blood vessels, or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins which are found in arterial walls or the blood stream.

The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily.It is also possible that the inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Doctor’s advice
Medical science still has a lot to learn about whether and how gum disease and dental cavities are linked to heart disease.

I sincerely suggest that each and every one should take care of their teeth. Brush twice daily, floss your teeth and see your dentist atleast twice a year for regular cleanings. Cleaning and polishing of teeth is always the best way to prevent gum disease. That way, you can have your original teeth for the rest of your life, and ensure that your heart is also benefitted in the process.
 
Dr.Koya Kishore Consultant Dental Surgeon Apollo Dental Centre Hyderabad


    
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