Did you know that inflammation in your gums affects your vascular health?
For many years doctor have studied the strong link between cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, smoking, stress, diabetes, and obesity. Cardiovascular disease is a condition which narrows your blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. There is also a correlation between oral hygiene, smoking, and nutrition. More recently however research as shown a strong correlation between gum inflammation and diseases of the body’s blood vessels. How could oral health affect the health of our arteries?
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It is known that red bleeding gums often ends up causing deep periodontal pockets and eventual tooth loss. Periodontal pockets are a crevice of unattached gum around a tooth which can contain harmful bacteria. The bacteria can slowly dissolve the bone around the tooth and eventually there may not be enough bone to hold the tooth in place. Serious tooth decay can also cause inflammation in and around the teeth. Dental decay is composed of microorganisms that can eat tissue. If these dental diseases are not treated, ongoing inflammation of the gums can ensue, and this can lead to bacteria to be persistently spread through your vascular system. This gum disease thus affects not only your mouth, but your whole body. The inflammation damages the arteries, which can cause increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
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Your immune system in general can be also weakened by gum disease or a tooth abscess. When you have bacteria in your mouth some of your immune system capacity is diverted to attending to this. This takes its resources away from taking care of the rest or your body. Dr. Hawryluk explained that when a tooth abscess is removed his patients often report feeling a sense of well being overall as their body does not have to fight the bacteria anymore.
A European study reported that citizens with gingivitis and tooth decay had a mortality incidence that was between 20 and almost 50 percentile points higher than people without these conditions. This was accounted for by a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Being free from gum disease is estimated to length your lifespan more than 6 years.
Going to St. Lawrence Dentistry for regular checkups can is an excellent step in helping you stop gum disease and tooth decay. Dental diseases can usually be halted at an early stage with simple conservative therapy. Our dental hygienists will give individual instruction on oral hygiene and dietary issues. Among other things they will go over proper brushing and flossing technique. Use of fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day along with an antiseptic mouth rinse is often recommended. Special tools such as interdental cleaners can help in certain situations. A mat of bacteria can often be present on the tongue which can contribute to generalized inflammation and also bad breath. St. Lawrence Dentistry will identify this situation if it exists and help you remedy it.
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You may want to consider cutting out high caloric snacks between meals and eating less candies. Bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugar in these foods into simple sugars that can lead soften your teeth leading to dental decay. An episode of sugar consumption can cause acid state environment around your teeth which can last for last for at about a half hour. In other words, if your teeth are exposed to 1 sugar food 3 times daily, your teeth could be exposed to cavity creating acids for and an hour and a half a half diurnally!
Many medicaments cause dry mouth (xerostomia) as a side effect, and this can reduce your body’s defences to dental diseases. Some of these are high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, atropine, and phenothiazines. Cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy often experience dry mouth. When teeth dry out rampant dental decay can ensue very quickly. If you are experiencing dry mouth Dr. Hawryluk can take several steps to attenuate any dental breakdown. He may also work with your medical doctor to help restore you to proper salivary flow.
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The next time you feel tired in the evening and are thinking about skipping out on brushing and flossing, think twice!—not only does your oral hygiene routine help your teeth, but it protects your whole body from inflammation.
References: The Nordic Guide to Living 10 years Longer