Are heart disease and oral health linked? Researchers are still finding evidence for this link.
However, there are chances that the oral bacteria can be responsible for gum disease travels to the heart via the bloodstream.
There it can increase C-reactive protein which results in blood vessels inflammation.
As a result, there is a risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
Hence, there is possible a link between the two which we will discuss in this article.
Keep reading to know what you can do to protect your heart and oral health.
Does Bad Oral Health Cause Heart Disease and Other Cardiac System Problems?
There is a need for more research to get a certain answer to this question as there are researches that show a link and those that do not.
Bacteria are present in your oral cavity but you can also ingest them.
This oral bacteria can assimilate into the bloodstream to reach the heart.
As soon as they reach the heart, there is a risk of them attaching to a damaged part.
Bacteria can cause infection and inflammation inside the lining of the heart.
Furthermore, there is a risk of stroke and clogging of arteries because of the oral bacteria.
The gums swell, may bleed, form pockets between teeth and can even result in tooth loss.
Hence, the oral bacteria that cause this disease can enter the bloodstream.
There can be bacterial infection within the bloodstream or it can travel to the heart and cause inflammation.
It can be especially dangerous for people with artificial heart valves as this infection can directly affect them.
Furthermore, researchers have found a link between the patterns of tooth loss and coronary artery disease.
They also suggest that periodontitis increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, diabetes has a direct link with heart problems and that makes an indirect one with periodontitis.
Diabetes can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease whereas people who have diabetes can improve their condition by getting periodontal treatment.
Hence, keeping your oral health in check can protect you from getting severe heart problems.
However, it is not the only factor to prevent it.
Though, it is great to find out about gingivitis earlier.
Look for signs and symptoms and maintain good oral health to combat them.
Symptoms and Prevention
Gingivitis worsens to become gum disease.
As the plaque accumulates on teeth, it hardens to become tartar.
Pockets form between the gum and tooth pulling these two apart.
These pockets may contain bacteria and pus.
This is a sign of infection that you may see near teeth and gums.
Your gums will appear, red and swollen.
Furthermore, the bacteria inside your mouth will give you a regular bad breath and also bad taste.
When you brush, you will notice bleeding from your gums.
This will also happen when you floss between your teeth.
Due to the presence of the pockets, it will appear as if the teeth are pulling away from the gums.
Similarly, your teeth will look like they are moving away from nearby healthy teeth.
They will also feel loose.
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, it is time to head to your dentist.
A teeth cleaning will remove the gingivitis however, you may require deep cleaning to eliminate gum disease.
If things have begun to get worse then your dentist may advise you to extract the tooth instead.
Though, a greater risk of gum disease is that of cardiovascular disease.
It is far easier to prevent things from worsening.
All you need to do is to take care of your oral health!
- Brush your teeth regularly, twice a day
- Floss teeth once a day
- Use mouthwash and interdental brush for additional protection
- Visit your dentist twice a year
Furthermore, taking care of your oral health can prevent any cardiac problems.
Some amount of plaque will remain on your teeth, however, you can remove most of it by brushing properly.
Brushing and flossing thoroughly will prevent not only heart problems but also oral health problems like cavity and gingivitis.
Also lookout for the symptoms of a heart conditions.
The different type of heart disease can separate symptoms.
Such as shortness of breath and chest pain.
Since the heart pumps blood from the heart muscle, it can also affect blood supply and heart rhythm.
The different types of heart diseases include angina and myocardial infarction are the leading cause of death of the American heart in the United States.
For the treatment for congenital heart defects and others, you may require heart surgery.
Though, you can reduce one cause leading towards it by taking care of your oral health.
Precaution with Heart Disease and Other Problems
When you have a cardiac system problem or disease, you should first inform your dentist.
Some of these may hinder you from getting your dental treatment.
Conversely, having improper oral hygiene can increase your risk of certain diseases and interfere with their treatment.
Hence, you need to have clean teeth before you get treatment to minimize the risk of infection.
The medical name for heart attack is myocardial infarction.
You should not get dental treatment at least six months after you had a heart attack.
Rest well and let your body recover.
You can get simple teeth cleaning however, any big procedure should wait.
Before you begin, ask your dentist if they carry nitroglycerin and oxygen in case you run into a medical emergency during the procedure.
Angina patients and those with high blood pressure need treatment using calcium channel blockers.
These cause swelling and overgrowth of gums which makes it hard to chew.
While following good oral hygiene may subside the overgrowth and swelling, your dentist can suggest surgery.
Gum surgery known as gingivectomy can remove excess gum tissue.
They use a scalpel, laser dental burs, or electrosurgery unit.
While people with stable angina can get any dental treatment, those with accelerating and unstable conditions should avoid nonessential procedures.
If they need a dental procedure anyway then they should get it in a hospital with cardiac monitoring.
If you get a treatment with stable conditions in a dentists’ office, make sure they have oxygen and nitroglycerin.
Endocarditis is an infection in the inner lining of the heart.
If oral bacteria seep through the bloodstream and reach the cardiac system, there is a risk of developing this infection.
Hence, you should maintain your oral hygiene if you are at risk of developing it.
Moreover, if you are at a high risk of getting endocarditis then take an antibiotic before getting any dental procedure.
Furthermore, if you plan to get valve surgery, consult your dentist beforehand.
You should have excellent oral hygiene before that to prevent any infection.
Taking Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Medicines
Your doctor advises you to not take aspirin before several procedures.
Why is that so?
Because it is a blood-thinning medicine and so are anticoagulants.
This means if a procedure will result in bleeding, there can be excessive bleeding in those who take anticoagulants.
This is detrimental to your health.
So if your oral procedure results in bleeding, it can become uncontrollable.
Therefore, consult with your cardiologist about what to do.
Do not stop taking them on your own. Especially antiplatelet medications.
People with drug-eluting stents use it.
Again, consult your doctor first because you should never stop taking these medicines yourself.
You may also take anticoagulants for stroke.
Hence, before getting any dental procedure, inform your dentist about it.
A stroke can affect your saliva production.
This causes a dry mouth.
Your dentist may recommend an artificial saliva stimulant to keep the mouth from drying.
Moreover, if the stroke affects your arm, tongue and face then regular brushing and flossing will become difficult.
Your dentist may recommend fluoride gels, apply fluoride varnish and guide you on using other brushing and flossing techniques.
This will help you maintain good oral hygiene.
Consult with your cardiologist and your dentist before opting for any procedure.
What Should You Tell Your Dentist?
Before beginning the treatment discuss your health problems with them thoroughly.
Show them your prescription.
Give a complete medical history of your illness.
Also, tell them about your nonprescription drugs.
Mention the doses of all the drugs you take.
This will help them identify the best treatment for your needs.
Also, ensure that your dentist has your cardiologist’s contact information.
If they want to discuss your medications and treatment, they can do so at ease.
Furthermore, ask if your dentist has oxygen and nitroglycerin.
These are emergency supplies that you may need in case of a medical emergency.
Talk to your dentist if you feel anxious about the procedure.
After heart disease, you can naturally feel worrisome and stressed.
You can fear that the pain and stress will cause another cardiovascular problem.
Dental anxiety adds up to it.
Tell your dentist about how you feel.
They will work with you to control your stress.
They can control your pain to make the procedure easy.
Do not skip dental visits because of this fear.
In fact, doing so will increase bacteria and plaque.
You can risk gingivitis and cardiovascular problems.
Go to your dentist every 6 months.
This helps to control all oral infections.
Furthermore, it will keep you orally healthy.
Oral health may have a link with heart disease.
However, oral care is still essential if there isn’t any.
Good hygiene can protect you from numerous oral problems.
This also aids in keeping your teeth and gums healthy as a result you eat and chew properly.
Therefore, do not take your oral hygiene for granted.
It can protect your oral and overall health.