Haymarket Dental Complete Care
6735 Leaberry Way, Haymarket VA 20169
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Dental Care and Heart Disease

You may be wondering what your teeth have to do with heart disease. Well, the health of your teeth and gums has a lot to do with heart disease as reported by ongoing studies from many sources including the American Dental Association.

These studies have shown increased risk for heart disease in people with periodontal disease (gum recession, inflammation or bleeding). One study found that 85 percent of heart attack patients also had periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, as compared with 29 percent of people with no heart problems.

Another study on hypertension found that severe gum disease was associated with damage on the left side of the heart and chronic gum disease was associated with high cholesterol levels, heart disease and stroke.

It is hypothesized that the correlation may be due to the bacteria from the mouth traveling into the blood stream causing atherosclerosis or plaque formation on the arterial walls. Research has found an increased plasma level of fibrinogen, which creates blood clots, and an increased level of c-reactive proteins, which is a marker for heart disease. Cytokines, which are activated from the immune system response, are also present.

Evidence is suggesting that the inflammation response from gum disease and heart conditions is the common thread. But one study found that treating one doesn’t help prevent the other since it is not a causal relationship; they both just share the same inflammatory response.

Having diabetes also puts you at higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by inflammation, recession and bleeding of the gums. If the blood sugar levels are high, this also means increased levels of sugar are present in the saliva. Your mouth is a warm, dark and damp place with sugar as a food source: a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The increased sugar in the saliva also coats the teeth and promotes tooth decay.

The bacteria enters into the blood stream through bleeding gums, which also makes managing your blood sugars more difficult, may decrease your immunities and, as one study suggested, can even cause diabetes. The study stated that the bacteria from gum disease flows into the blood stream and activates cytokine, a hormone that responds to your immune system kicking into gear in response to invading bacteria, which destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin, thereby causing diabetes.

The bacteria traveling in your arteries from gum disease can also irritate your arteries, which may cause an increase in plaque formation, similar to how a diet high in saturated fat increases plaque production on the artery walls. It also can contribute to an increase in blood clots, which may increase blood pressure and decrease blood flow to the brain, possibly causing a stroke, or to the heart, causing a heart attack.

For any questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office by email or call 703-753-7077.

 
 
 

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