Monday, January 9, 2012

Gateway to a Healthy Heart

The health of your mouth is an accurate reflection of the general health of your entire body. In fact, your mouth can reflect the state of your bone, tendon and tissue health in general.
According to the American “Academy of General Dentistry”, more than 90 percent of diseases that affect your whole body produce signs and symptoms in your mouth. In fact, an unhealthy mouth not only leads to tooth loss but has been strongly linked to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even pre-term labour.

Plaque – the gateway to many health problems

There are more than 500 species of bacteria in your mouth. It is these bacteria that form the sticky, colourless film on your teeth known as plaque. When mineral salts in saliva combine with plaque, hard deposits known as tartar or calculus are formed on your teeth. These cannot be removed by brushing alone.
Plaque can build up at your gum line where even more bacteria can accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate your gums causing them to become inflamed and bleed. (A disease called gingivitis). This causes your gums to separate from your teeth, forming “pockets” between the teeth and gums that become infected. (A disease called periodontitis).
As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen, the inflammation and infection increase and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed, ultimately leading to tooth and bone loss.

No laughing matter

Periodontitis is a condition in which the ligaments that anchor your teeth to your jawbone and your jawbone are literally eaten away.
Because the symptoms are very mild at first, most people don’t know they have gum disease!
If you have taken your oral health lightly so far, its time to get serious.

The Mouth/Heart Connection

Bacteria in the mouth can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research is suggesting that this may contribute to the development of heart disease, the leading cause of death.

Three recent studies show that:
  • The total number of periodontal bacteria in plaque below the gum-line was higher in individuals who had suffered from an acute heart attack.
  • The same DNA from periodontal bacteria in plaque was also found in the patients’ heart arteries.
  • The number of diseased periodontal pockets was significantly related to hypertension regardless of the age of the subject.

Even more alarming for middle-aged people is the finding that (due to tooth loss), the fewer the teeth, the more likely a heart attack.
Moreover, research shows links between poor oral health and increased risk of stroke and increased risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.
Poor oral health also poses a serious threat to people with diabetes, respiratory diseases and osteoporosis.
The bottom line: Good oral health is not just about your smile, it’s about your life.