Dental health is focused on as much as any other area when it comes to cosmetics. A flawless smile has been shown to not only brighten somebody’s day, but to also be a very dominant feature in sexual attraction. Riverside dental practice, cosmetic dentist in Norwich, detail on their website the correct ways to brush and floss your teeth in order to avoid gum disease. This may seem a standard procedure for a dental practice, but poor dental health is often associated with other more serious health problems.
Ailments such as gingivitis have been linked to an increased occurrence of cardiovascular disease. But how does the health of your gums affect the health of your heart?
Some basic biology
One of the human body’s defense mechanisms against presence of harmful bacteria, known as pathogens, is inflammation. Inflammation is characterized by swelling, redness, heat and pain. When your cells become damaged by either injury or bacteria, your cells release molecules which stimulate pain receptors as well as promoting the increase of blood flow to the affected area causing swelling and redness. This brings in white blood cells to clear out any bacteria.
Inflammation can be classed as either short-term (acute) or prolonged (chronic). It is the long term exposure to the molecules signalling inflammation which can lead onto more severe health issues.
Associated to the formation plaque around the teeth, bacteria are able to occupy spaces around and under the gum line. These communities of bacteria release toxins into the tissue invoking the inflammatory response. Occasionally the bacteria can avoid being removed by your immune system and the inflammation continues. The sustained production of the pro-inflammatory molecules eventually filter into the blood stream in a high enough concentration that they affect other organs in the body, including the heart.
The risk to your heart
Amongst many of the molecules that promote inflammation, C-reactive protein (CRP) has been linked with both gum disease and atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries). CRP is a molecule of the immune system which not only identifies pathogens but also targets low-density lipoproteins in the blood to be taken up by cells. This can cause thickening of the blood vessels around the heart eventually leading to heart attacks.
Should you be scared?
No, is the short answer. Gum disease can only really be coupled to all the other factors associated to the generation of heart disease. For instance smoking is a factor which is detrimental to both your oral and cardiovascular health. Having poor dental health will not increase your chance of a heart attack on its own, however, amongst all the good reasons to maintain your winning smile, it is another point to consider.