According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half of all adults in the United States suffer from gum disease. Without consistent care and attention, a person's gums will become swollen and infected. Swelling and infection will in turn lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, a condition known as gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis will cause the structures supporting the teeth to weaken, leading to the condition known as gum disease or periodontitis.
The effect of proper oral hygiene on our overall health is only now being fully understood. Numerous research efforts have shown that there is a clear statistical link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism underlying this connection is not fully understood.
Two basic mechanisms are currently being studied which scientists hypothesize are the basis for the connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease.
Once in the bloodstream, bacteria can reach multiple destinations, where it will cause inflammation, infection and destruction in susceptible areas. The heart, in particular, and the cardiovascular system, in general, are highly susceptible to damage caused by infection.
Included in the evidence for this hypothesis is the fact that researchers have shown that the most common bacteria found in the coronary arteries is P. gingivalis. Combined with the fact that more than half of all adults in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease, it is not surprising that this particular bacteria is the type most commonly found in the coronary arteries.
As mentioned above, researchers have shown that the most common bacteria found in the coronary arteries is P. gingivalis. This bacteria is a known cause of inflammation.
So, in other worlds, don’t be surprised if your cardiologist reminds you to be consistent and careful about taking care of our teeth and gums. Proper oral hygiene may allow us to prevent or slow the devastating effects of the nation's number one killer, heart disease.
Regency Jewish Heritage has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to form The NJ Heart and Lung Center™
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