Dr. Howard Jenkinson of the University of Bristol explained how oral bacteria can escape from the mouth into the bloodstream and increase the risk for heart attack. Dr. Jenkinson explained “Poor dental hygiene can lead to bleeding gums, providing bacteria with an escape route into the bloodstream, where they can initiate blood clots leading to heart disease.”
The streptococcus bacteria live in the mouth and are commonly confined to “biofilms” or confined areas. They are responsible for causing plaque on teeth and eventual gum disease. The researchers from the University of Bristol showed that once these bacteria have escaped into the bloodstream they use a special protein on their surface to force blood platelets to bind together and form clots. The bacteria force the clots to form in order to protect themselves from attack by the immune system. “Unfortunately, as well as helping out the bacteria, platelet clumping can cause small blood clots, growth on the heart valves, or inflammation of the blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart and brain.”
Professor Jenkinson echoed a very important message that the dental community has been saying for years. “People need to be aware that as well as keeping a check on their diet, blood pressure, cholesterol and fitness levels, they also need to maintain good dental hygiene to minimize their risk of heart problems.”
Help minimize your risk by contacting my Columbus, Ohio office today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your appointment. If you have been avoiding dental care because of anxiety or fear ask about dentistry with “the little pill”, the completely anxiety-free way of getting the treatment you need. Your healthy smile and healthy heart depend on it!