A 35-year-old man recently had to get hospitalized due to a heart attack at his workplace. This was pretty shocking news for everyone around him. He was living a stress-free and happy life with his family. He was a great performer at his work as well. Moreover, he was a diet freak, no addictions, and never missed his gym routine. The diagnostic tests revealed that there was a plaque deposit in one of his coronary arteries (the blood vessel which is connected with the heart) which caused him chest pain and sweating while he was working.
What was the actual problem? Was it his lifestyle or something else?
We all have a busy schedule and always want to be at the top of our game. In India, it has become common for people in their early 40s to die due to a heart attack despite following a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that teeth can also cause similar life-threatening situation?
What happens during a heart attack?
The heart attack or myocardial infarction in medical terms refers to a situation where there is a sudden blockage (occlusion) of blood flow in a coronary artery.
Identifying patients at risk is a major step to reduce the risk of a heart attack. One must know the risk factors and how to reduce their influence.
How is oral health linked to heart?
Patients having long-lasting gum diseases like gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk of heart disease due to poor oral health, especially if it remains untreated. The bacteria responsible to cause gum infections is the same bacteria that can also cause infections in the heart. This is the reason why a poor oral hygiene could be one of the reasons to cause heart attacks in susceptible patients.
The bacteria related to gum infection can enter the bloodstream, where they stick to your blood vessels and increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Even if you don’t have a prominent gum infection you must take care of your teeth.
However, the bacteria can also migrate into your bloodstream, causing the increased C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the arteries.
Symptoms of warning signs
The American Association of Periodontology (AAP) states that you may have gum disease, even in early stages, if:
- Your gums turn red, swollen and pain when touched.
- Bleeding while eating, brushing or flossing can be noticed.
- Oozing pus or other signs of infected gums can be alarming.
- You frequently have bad breath or experience a bad taste in your mouth.
- Some of your teeth may become loose, or feel as if they are moving away from other teeth.
- You see soft to hard white and yellow deposits on your teeth.
Preventive measures for healthy teeth and heart
Maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly will help to stay away from the risk factors. Just brushing twice daily will not do the needful. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing of teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush and to use a dental-association approved toothpaste.
Make sure to brush your teeth twice daily with a gum care toothpaste, flossing daily once between all your teeth and use a mouthwash as prescribed by your dentist every alternate day or at least twice a week.
Let your dentist know about all the medications and your heart conditions before starting any dental treatments. This will help your dentist understand your case better and deliver the best treatment possible suitable for your case.
Regular teeth cleaning every 6 months will help reduce the overall bacterial load in the mouth. In case you have any dentures, bridges, crowns or implants in your mouth maintaining hygiene is of utmost importance.
Everything connects your heart and so does your teeth. So, be proactive about your oral health and protect your life by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Just like heart diseases, dental diseases are very much preventable.
- All you need for a healthy heart is a good and healthy lifestyle and for a good dental health you need to follow the 5 steps keep your mouth 100% bacteria free.
- Healthy gums keep your heart healthy too.
- Flossing your teeth may also help keep your heart healthy as you tend to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth.
- Get a teeth cleaning every 6 months if you are diagnosed with any medical conditions like heart diseases, diabetes etc. Or are prone to getting one.