It’s well established that regular dental care and dental work are necessary for maintaining not only a healthy smile but also overall health. However, the dangers of failing to receive dental work such as dental crowns, fluoride treatment, and a necessary root canal are largely left in the dark.
According to the University of Helsinki, an abscess left alone in the gums, which would otherwise be detected on X-rays from a local dentist, can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, or heart disease. Surprisingly, there is a high number of chronic diseases associated with poor dental care.
The connection between oral infections and chronic illness
Sugars left on the teeth lend themselves as food to bacteria that eat away at the surface of the teeth. When enough decay has occurred, bacterial infections surround the teeth and gums.
For this reason, the bacteria in your teeth now have access to your bloodstream, including your arteries. For instance, those who suffer from periodontitis, or gum disease, are considered at greater risk for coronary artery disease and diabetes.
When the bacteria in your teeth make their way into the bloodstream and then to the heart, the bacteria can attack the heart tissue. This results in inflammation and eventually endocarditis. Should you have blood clots already in your arteries, this additional inflammation can result in a heart attack.
How to prevent oral infections and heart disease
Although some people have a genetic predisposition for heart disease, heart disease can be prevented by reducing the number of unhealthy fats in one’s diet to prevent artery blockage, increasing exercise to strengthen the cardiovascular system, and regular screening.
Additionally, one can help to prevent orally-caused heart disease by regularly seeing one’s local dentist. Regular dentist visits and X-rays prevent oral infections from developing and worsening. What’s more is that technology has developed to allow for sedation dentistry to be an option for those too anxious to visit the dentist regularly.
In the United States, approximately one in five people are suffering from untreated cavities. If you are suffering from untreated cavities or are concerned about a potential dental emergency, contact the offices of Stateline Dental today.