One of the most surprising observations that were made in recent years, brought out that people who have poor oral health (wobbling tooth or gum disease) are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac arrest, as compared to people who maintain good oral hygiene.
Why would cardiovascular disease and poor oral health be connected?
Doctors and researchers have come up with a lot of probable theories. Some of them are listed below:
The bacteria that attack the gums and the teeth, causing gingivitis or periodontitis also travel to the blood vessels elsewhere in the body, where they are known to cause blood vessel inflammation and damage; minor blood clots which is then followed by cardiac arrest and stroke. This thought was corroborated after the remnants of the oral bacteria was discovered within the atherosclerotic blood vessels, away from the mouth. Even anti biotic treatments haven’t been able to bring out desirable results in reducing the risk of a coronary disease.
More than the bacteria, it’s the immune system of the body itself – inflammation, which triggers the vascular damage in the body, including the most important organs- the brain and the heart.
There might not be any direct links between an infected gum and coronary diseases. Having said that, they might be indirectly connected by other aspects such as smoking. It single handedly harms the oral health and coronary conditions. Other external conditions like poor access to healthcare or the lack of physical exercise can also add to the above mentioned conditions. People who don’t take enough care of their overall health conditions might also struggle with bad oral health and dysfunctional cardio vascular system.
A research result that was published in the year 2018, delved deep into the question and analyzed the data. The data showed that from a sample set of nearly a million people, more than 60000 people have had cardiovascular issues. They found out that after the taking into consideration the age of the subject, there were other moderate correlation between wobbly tooth or loss of tooth and coronary diseases.
After accounting for the smoking habits of the subjects, the links between loss of tooth and coronary heart diseases seemed to significantly disappear.
This study large claims the lack of direct links between poor oral health and cardiovascular diseases. But the most important question still remains unanswered- how do we justify or nullify the studies that have taken the smoking tendencies into account to check for the cardiovascular diseases?
We don’t obviously expect one research to single handedly answers all the related questions that have bothered researchers for years. Hence, we’ll wait for other studies to find out something conclusive.
Regardless of the relationship, maintaining optimal oral hygiene or routine is a significant part of your overall health.
What are the benefits of proper oral care?
You can significantly reduce the probability of getting `gum disease or wobbly tooth or other oral infections by maintaining a good oral and dental care routine.
Optimal dental care includes:
- Visiting a dentist at least twice a year
- Brushing your teeth of twice a day.
- Regularly flossing your teeth, preferably before bed.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash twice each day
- If you have dentures, make sure they fit properly.
- Replacing your toothbrush head every three months or after being sick
- Lastly, but not the least, please follow advice and instructions from your doctor and dental care expert and take prescribed medications, as directed.
If you are already dealing with cardiovascular disease, what should you tell your dentist?
First things first, provide your dentist with your complete medical history including the list of names of the medicines and their recommended doses for your cardiovascular disease. Please try to include even the prescribed and the non-prescribed drugs. This will enable your dentist to make a treatment plan for you accordingly.
You can also provide your dentist with the name and contact information of the heart doctor that you’re seeing, so that he can talk to him if needed.
If the idea of visiting a dentist or undergoing a medical procedure overwhelms you. If it triggers your stress and anxiety, please understand that stress can impact your cardiovascular conditions. In that case, you should talk to your dentist. Your dentist is the best person to help you through this, by structuring a
The following list contains information about some of the heart conditions that need special attention, specifically when it comes to dental care. This is not all –inclusive, and it is recommended that you talk to your cardiologist and dentist for more specific information.
If you already know about your coronary dysfunction, and also need an oral surgery, the best tip again, would be to talk to your dental surgeon and your cardiologist for the choicest set of advice, depending on your medical condition and needs. This will also include the anesthetics and the sedatives that will be given to you.
Some people are susceptible to developing a bacterial infection on the inner lining of the heart which is also popularly known as bacterial endocarditis. Patients struggling with this should be particularly careful about their oral health routine every day. Some of the patients suffering from this ailment are usually advised to take in antibiotics before getting any dental or oral treatment done. The AHA or the American Heart Association have put forward a set of amended guidelines to the state stating that the people who are already suffering from this infection or are susceptible will significantly benefit from the consumption of anti-biotic as a preventative treatment before certain procedures.
It’s important to have a basic awareness of bacterial endocarditis and those susceptible to it. Your doctor, especially your cardiologist, will be able to tell you if you fall under the high-risk category. Patients who are supposed to undergo valve surgery, should maintain absolutely amazing oral hygiene routine because even the tiniest microorganism can lead to cause bacterial endocarditis.
Heart attack (Myocardial Infarction)
It is always advisable to wait for a minimum span of 6 months after a cardiac arrest to get any extensive dental treatment. This doesn’t include dental cleaning. Making sure that your dentist’s office has a handy supply of oxygen and nitroglycerin in case of a medical urgency, is always a good idea.
High blood pressure (Hypertension)
Some of the medicines prescribed to patients to deal with high blood pressure can cause them to have a dry mouth and can even alter their sense of taste. Medicines which are used as calcium channel blockers, can lead to a swollen gum tissue, can cause them to overgrow and subsequently cause problems during chewing your food. In case you experience an overgrowth of your gums, your dentist might advise you to visit their office at more frequent intervals, for cleaning sessions. You might even need a gum surgery, rarely though. The procedure that removed overgrown gum areas is called gingivectomy. This process requires the dental expert to remove the excess parts of your gum by using scalpel, laser or diamond dental bars and an electro surgery unit.
This kind of cardiovascular dysfunction to requires a specific dosage of calcium channel brokers, which might subsequently lead to gum overgrowth. This too might need a surgery to get the overgrown gum tissues out. Patients with prior history of cardiac arrest, and patients struggling with angina are usually advised to check with the dentists if they have a handy supply of oxygen and nitroglycerin, before going in for extensive dental treatment. However, for people who have stable angina are usually allowed to undergo several extensive dental treatments. It is for the people with unstable angina, who are not allowed to go in for elective or nonessential dental procedures. They are advised to undergo any dental care procedure in a hospital with a fully functioning heart monitoring device.
Your dentist should know if you’re under blood thinning medications or anticoagulants. This medications, by virtue of their nature can often lead to excessive bleeding during the dental or oral surgery. If you’ve already had a stroke and it has affected your ability to produce sufficient amounts of saliva, your dentist will suggest you to opt for artificial saliva. If your face, tongue and your facial structure has been affected by the stroke, or even your arms or hand, your dental expert you ask you to opt for fluoride gels, specialized brushes and flossing procedures which will enable you to maintain a good oral and dental hygiene routine.
Inform your dental expert or dentists if you have and are on any medications for the coronary conditions listed below:
- A history of endocarditis
- Heart valves damaged (scarred) by conditions such as rheumatic fever.
- Mitral valve prolapse with a murmur
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Congenital heart or heart valve defects
- Artificial (prosthetic) heart valves
- Your dental care expert or dentist might probably want to consult with your health care providers, or your cardiologist to be specific
What Kinds of Healthy Foods Support Oral and Heart Health?
A balanced diet and regular physical activity can positively contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Focusing on diet or food items that support oral health and a healthy heart condition, you can keep serious heal concerns at an arm’s distance. Food items that are high in sugar content and contain unhealthy fats shouldn’t be consumed or at least avoided. Food items that contribute to a healthy heart and a good oral health comprise:
Leafy green vegetables can help lower blood sugar and boost adequate saliva production
Almonds are high in calcium and low in sugar, and also have other vitamins
Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can significantly take down the risk of diabetes and obesity and strengthen teeth and gums
Salmon fish is full of vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. It is known to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and heart disease.
The bottom line
Researchers are yet to conclusively find out if there is a direct link between a healthy mouth and a healthy heart. But maintaining a good oral care regimen can surely help you save you teeth from being wobbly or even getting uprooted. Injurious habits like smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco not only impacts your oral health, but also negatively impacts your heart health in the long run. These reasons are enough to make you prioritize your health over everything else. Good oral health can make a positive difference.