Scientists say they have established one reason why periodontal disease (gum disease) may increase the risk of heart disease.
The link between gum and heart problems has long been recognized but it is unclear if poor oral health is simply a marker of a person’s general well being.
Earlier this year a Scottish study of more than 11,000 people found people who did not brush their teeth twice a day were at increased risk of heart disease. It backed up previous findings that suggested a link, but researchers stressed the nature of the relationship still needed further analysis.
Scientists from the University of Bristol working with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland now suggest it is the Streptococcus bacteria – responsible for causing tooth plaque and periodontal disease which may be to blame.
Their work shows this bacteria, once let loose in the bloodstream, makes a protein known as PadA which forces platelets in the blood to stick together and clot.
Research such as this makes a welcome contribution to further
Prof Damian Walmsley British Dental Association, “When the platelets clump together they completely encase the bacteria.
This provides a protective cover not only from the immune
Unfortunately, as well as helping out the bacteria, platelet clumping can cause small blood clots, growths on the heart valves, or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart and brain.
While maintaining good dental hygiene could
Professor Damian Walmsley,
It also underlines the high importance of brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, restricting your intake of sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly in order to maintain good oral health.
The British Heart Foundation said that were other factors besides oral health which had a greater impact on heart health.
But their senior cardiac nurse Cathy Ross added that combining good oral health care “with a healthy diet, not smoking and taking part in plenty of physical activity will go a long way in helping you reduce your overall risk of heart disease.
Our heart disease patients come to us from all over New York City, including Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park and neighboring locations in Brooklyn, NY.
For more information:
“Periodontal Disease And Pancreatic Cancer Linked.” Medical News Today. N.p., 19 Jan 2007. Web. 14 Nov 2011. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/60977.php