Oral Bacteria and Heart Plaque: How Are They Connected?

For many years, it has been debated that poor oral hygiene may be a possible cause of heart disease. Though this is has not been proven and threads of evidence has not been tied together, it’s still important to pay attention to both our oral and cardiovascular health.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or gingivitis, is mostly a result of sloppy dental hygiene. Generally, it is defined as an inflammation of the gums. A more advanced stage of this is the periodontal disease which occurs when the bone below the gums gets infected or inflamed.

There are many factors that induce the risk of developing gum disease. It ranges from natural conditions such as diabetes, and hormonal changes in pregnancy, puberty and menopause to improper dental hygiene like smoking, stress, poor nutrition, and stress.

A person with gingivitis should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad mouth odor
  • Plaques or white spots on the gums
  • Receding gums

It is possible that these symptoms may not be noticeable so regular visits to a dentist in Scottsdale is important.

What is Heart Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is a term for several heart conditions and diseases like stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease and heart attack. Heart disease is often caused by a buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.

How Could Gum Disease and Heart Disease Be Linked?

Some researchers suggest that the bacteria from infected gums, which can enter the bloodstream, therefore increasing clot formation and building up plaque in the arteries, may contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Moreover, it has been taken into account that the inflammation caused by gum disease may trigger clot formation. Although the link between heart disease and gum disease has yet to be clearly established, experts agree that there may be a conceivable explanation why they may be intertwined. For one, both diseases involve swelling or inflammation. And secondly, the risk factors for gum disease such as cigarette smoking, poor nutrition, and diabetes are the same as those for heart disease.

Advice for Healthy Heart and Gums

Some people are genetically more prone to cardiovascular disease and gum disease than others. So if it runs in your family, you should be especially vigilant in keeping your heart and gums healthy with proper exercise, healthy food intake and vigorous dental care habits. Get any symptoms checked out by a heart doctor or a dentist in Scottsdale right away.

Say Bye-bye to Plaque and Hello to Polished Teeth!

Those teeth are the only ones you’ll ever going to have in your lifetime so you better play hard and make certain that your mouth is in good shape. And one way of making sure of that is keeping plaque at bay.

Plaque, which is due to bacteria accumulation, destroys your teeth and cause tooth decay by releasing acids in your mouth when it interacts with tooth-unfriendly substances. To make it worse, plaque can harden into tartar if left hanging around for days. So keep your teeth plaque-free. Fight against plaque attack with these effective ways.

Locate plaque using some disclosing tablets. Because plaque is practically invisible, using disclosing tablets or applying green food coloring to your teeth will help you get rid of it. They work as staining agents so you can easily spot the plaque and clean them with a toothbrush.

Brush your teeth. Evidently, regular brushing is your first line of defense against plaque. Brush in circular strokes at least twice each day for 2-3 minutes with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay close attention to each tooth to ensure that you are not missing any. And don’t forget to include your tongue. Its surface can be a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque if left untreated so make sure to give it a good scrub.

Floss daily. Toothbrush alone will not get rid of plaque, especially in those gaps between your teeth. Here’s where flossing comes into picture. Dentists in Scottsdale recommend flossing once daily to help remove the plaque buildup in the crevices of your teeth.

Use a Mouthwash. Swish your mouth with an antimicrobial rinse that contains plaque buster ingredients such as zinc citrate and fluoride after flossing and brushing. Be warned, though, some mouthwashes can cause irritation. So ask your dentist which kind is best for you.

Eat your veggies and avoid starchy or sugary foods. The next time your tummy grumbles, don’t reach for a bag of chips and a soda. Those kinds of substances have high levels of sugar and acid which can cause stains and plaque. Instead, munch on vegetables like celery and carrots. They’re low in acid and sugar, so you’re sure they won’t add up to the plaque or stains in your teeth.

You may also want to consider eating cheese, apples or melons after a meal. Cheese balances the pH level in your mouth, while an apple or melon helps naturally clean your teeth and prevent gum bleeding.

Use baking soda. Go natural by applying a home-made plaque removal on your affected teeth. Simply mix a small amount of baking soda with a pinch of salt and you’re set to dab and scrub it on your teeth with a toothbrush.

Get professional cleaning. Even the most rigorous dental hygiene habits should be backed up with a thorough cleaning and evaluation by your dentist. So benefit from your semi-annual dental visits by having your teeth checked out and cleaned.

About The Author

Dr. Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle completed her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, AZ. As a leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry and full-mouth rehabilitation, she is committed to providing exceptional dental care to the local community. She is also affiliated with prestigious organizations, including the American Dental Association. Her extensive involvement in these reputable institutions speaks to her commitment to advancing the field of dentistry.