Hidden tooth infections increase heart disease risk by almost three times

September  2016

Undetected tooth infections could increase the risk of heart disease by almost three times, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research1, has found that people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease, than patients who have had treatment of dental infections.

With cardiovascular diseases being a contributor in an estimated 30 per cent of all deaths globally, leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, wants to encourage more regular dental visits, especially if we are experiencing toothache, sensitivity or bleeding gums.

Speaking on the issue Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “This research is very worrying as tooth infections are initially caused by tooth decay which is triggered by poor oral hygiene routines and a diet high in sugar.

“The major signs of root infection (usually known as a dental abscess) include pain, often when biting down on the tooth, and sometimes swelling. The tooth may also become discoloured. But sometimes infection does not immediately present with these symptoms and can go undetected for some time.

“Thankfully, maintaining good basic oral health and cutting your risk is very easy. By brushing our teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste; cut down on the amount of sugary foods and drinks and how often we have them and visiting our dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, we can help prevent disease, not only in the mouth but the whole body too.”

As well as looking after your oral health preventing gum disease can be boosted by a healthy diet, weight control, exercise and not smoking.

“Infections occur when decay reaches the centre of the tooth, the dental pulp, when the tooth dies a reservoir of bacteria spreads beyond the end of the root and can enter the bloodstream. Treatment for this would usually be a root canal treatment to remove all of the infected tissue and prevent bacteria spreading,” Dr Carter added.

“These new findings add to the existing links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. It has previously been established that people with gum disease almost twice as likely to develop heart disease than people without it, this makes the need for good oral care even more important.

“Over recent years’ problems in the mouth have also been linked to other serious conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with pregnancy, so it is vital that we see our oral health as a priority.”

The Oral Health Foundation welcomes more research into this matter as it may be a way to prevent many instances of cardiovascular disease around the world and ultimately save lives.

With thanks to the British dental Health Foundation 


Mothers to be

May 2014

pregnancy and oral healthThe months before you welcome a new member to your family will be some of the most exciting months in your life. But those nine months also come with changes, and not just the most obvious one.

For instance, studies have shown that pregnant women are more vulnerable to gum disease than women who aren’t pregnant. Studies have also shown that there’s a link between gum disease and certain complications, like preterm birth or low-birth weight.

All of which means that if you’re currently pregnant, you need to make your oral health a priority.

It’s common for pregnant women to experience the swollen, bleeding gums associated with mild gum disease. Why? Because of the increased amount of hormones in the body. As your hormones increase, your gums become more prone to irritation from plaque, potentially leading to gingivitis.

So what steps can you take to protect your smile? Here are three to consider:

  • Pay special attention to your gumline when you brush
  • Avoid starchy or sugary foods and instead stick to a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Talk to your dentist about extra appointments or home care tips

As a mom-to-be, you want to give your little one the best possible start in life. Making your oral health a priority during the nine months of your pregnancy are one way you can do that.Call the Harrow Dental Centre on 020 84272543  today to reserve an appointment. Working side-by-side with your dentist, a healthy smile during pregnancy is possible.Contact us via our website  www.harrow-dentist.com

With acknowledgements to Best Dentist News