Poor dental health can also cause problems for the heart
A study has shown that persons with bad oral health have a high risk of developing cancers of lung, colon and pancreas. Those who are edentulous or lacking teeth – a sign of severe periodontitis – had an 80% increase in the risk of developing colon cancer. A low-grade systemic inflammation related to periodontitis facilitates the spreading of oral bacteria and their virulence factors to other parts of the body.
Advanced gum disease, also called periodontitis, is caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth. If left unchecked, the resulting inflammation can spread down below the gums and along the roots of the teeth, causing destruction of the periodontal ligament and the supporting bone. This ultimately leads to the loosening and potential loss of the teeth.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Oral hygiene is extremely essential. Dental health is often ignored by many people. Stress can have lasting effects on the teeth as on the overall system. Under stress, many people pick up the habit of smoking and consuming alcohol, which can have serious implications on dental health at a later stage. Periodontitis is a serious condition and if not managed on time can be detrimental to dental health. One should not ignore warning signs and visit a dentist as soon as possible. A dull tooth ache, which does not subside, bleeding gums, and sensitivity to certain eatables are signs that should not be ignored.”
There are more than 700 different species of bacteria colonized in a healthy mouth, most of which are completely harmless and live in harmony with their host. However, in the absence of sufficient oral hygiene and tooth cleaning, bacterial deposits build up next to the gums, forming a plaque, and the conditions become suitable for more dangerous bacteria to flourish.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “What many people are unaware of is that dental hygiene is also imperative for heart health. Poor oral health and tooth loss is associated with modest increases in future heart blockages and paralysis.”
Here are some tips to take care of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.
• Brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
• Floss every day as flossing helps clean the crevices where the brush can’t reach.
• Eat a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
• The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
• Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
• Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.