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Chronic Oral Infections and Your General Health

Dental bacteria can kill more than a smile. If you have experienced chronic oral infections, don’t floss regularly and have poor oral hygiene, you might be putting more than just your teeth in jeopardy. You should be aware that studies are revealing a link between neglecting your teeth and more serious health problems.

Dentists have known for years that oral infections pose a significant hazard to heart valves, but new research indicates that chronic dental infections may also contribute to hardening of the arteries, heart attack, stroke, and even pre-term births. The root cause seems to be the millions of bacteria living and breeding inside your mouth.

Even the healthiest mouth is not a sterile environment. There are many diferent resident bacteria swimming around your teeth and gums. Without proper care, oral bacteria can build up between your teeth and gums. The result of this buildup is bleeding gum tissue which can allow these potentially harmful bacteria to flow into your bloodstream and to travel anywhere in your body. Inflammation sets in where bacteria finally settle, and your immune system can’t always fight off the resulting infection.

Gum disease is the most common chronic oral infection.  It begins at or below the gumline with painless infections and often no visible signs or symptoms. Left untreated, these infections can lead to inflammation of the gums and bone around your teeth. Bacteria build up cell by cell to form colonies along the gumline which can be resistant to antibiotics. Other germs will grow down your tooth and migrate into your blood vessels. Dental plaque (the sticky film of bacteria surrounding your teeth) can get mixed up with blood-clotting cells forming a clump. These clumps of bacteria can irritate the walls of your blood vessels, and if they are located in your heart, they may increase the formation of heart-stopping blood clots.

Other research shows that the arteries of most stroke victims are infested with bacteria – some of which are oral bacteria. We also know that diabetics with gum disease are a greater risk of heat attack than those with healthy gums. Pregnant women with gum disease are seven to eight times more likely to give birth prematurely to low birth-weight babies.

Your general well being is always our concern. We can recommend good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits that will enhance your overall health and greatly reduce your chances of tooth and gum infections.

Stroke

New studies show that 70% of the fatty deposits lodged in the carotid arteries of stroke sufferers contain bacteria. 40% of this bacteria comes from the mouth.

Diabetes

A study conducted in Arizona showed that diabetics with gum disease were three times more likely to have heart attacks.

Heart Disease

Bacteria from your mouth may combine with blood-clotting cells called platelets, forming heart stopping blood clots.  Inflammation can create sites where fatty deposits can form resulting in clogged arteries and veins.

Spontaneous Pre-Term Births

Women with periodontal diseases are seven to eight times more likely to have pre mature or low birth-weight babies.

You should be aware that there's a possible link between neglecting your teeth and more serious health problems.  If you have questions about the links between your mouth and your overall health, be sure to ask us - Drs. Gauthier, Mollot, Kindrat, and Pilley will be happy to provide you with advice and recommendations.

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