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 


Oral Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Poor oral health may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis, based on a new study.

Researchers from the University of Louisville determined that poor oral health can raise the risk of rheumatoid arthritis based on the presence of an enzyme that is around when a person has gum disease. This enzyme, called peptidylarginine deiminanse, has also been associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which one’s joints become swollen and painful.

The problem with this enzyme is that it results in the body transforming some proteins into a form of protein called citrulline. The body often confuses citrulline and thinks it will cause problems and attacks it as a result. This produces inflammation in people who deal with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Previous studies have pointed to links between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis, with many determining that the problem is more widespread among people with gum disease.

The researchers analysed other forms of oral bacteria and concluded that none had any impact on rheumatoid arthritis.

More research on the relationship between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis could prove to be valuable. There is also a large amount of evidence that connects oral health and systemic problems. Many studies have shown the correlation between gum disease and a higher risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and numerous other health problems.

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Acknowledgements to : Today’s Dental News