Most of us know that oral health is important for our overall health. However, people avoid going to the dentists if their teeth seem fine. Dentists say that 80% of patients who have had heart attacks have gum disease. Your dental visits are the key to diagnose your health conditions before they become worse.
Recent studies reveal that there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. If you have gum disease at a moderate or advanced stage, you may have an increased risk of developing heart disease over people with healthy gums. Your oral health condition may provide warning signs for a range of diseases such as cancer, canker sores, dementia, heart disease, and more.
How Are Heart Attacks and Canker Sores Linked?
Since previous studies have proven a connection between bacteria from mouth and heart problems, there could possibly be a link between canker sores and heart attacks. The bacteria and germs from your mouth can reach the other parts of the body through your bloodstream. When these germs and bacteria reach your heart, they attach themselves to any weak area and cause inflammation. This inflammation can further lead to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.
Also, with the recent advancements in the field of salivary diagnostics, saliva tests are being done to detect all kinds of diseases, like oral cancer, breast cancer, and many autoimmune diseases. With some very exciting inputs from Dr. David Wong at UCLA, it has been found that saliva contains many of the same molecules contained in blood. So, if you're not looking at saliva, you're going to be missing out on indicators of many diseases.
Who Is at Risk?
People with chronic gum conditions such as advanced periodontal disease or gingivitis are at greater risk of developing heart disease. Even if you do not have gum inflammation, accumulated plaque caused by poor oral health can cause gum disease. The bacteria in your bloodstream can cause inflammation in your blood vessels and further increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
You may have gum disease if:
- You see pus or other signs of infection around your teeth and gums
- You have bleeding gums
- You often have bad breath or experience a bad taste
- Your gums are swollen, red, and sore to the touch
- You lose some of your teeth or feel they are moving away from the other teeth
- Your gums recede
How Does Saliva Test Help to Identify Diseases?
A simple saliva test is performed to detect all types of diseases, including breast cancer, oral cancer, heart problems, gum disease, and other autoimmune disorders. Your gut health is important, as eighty percent of your immune system depends on it. Your gut starts in your mouth, and whatever you eat mixes with your saliva.
If there is an imbalance in your saliva, you are passing the same to your gut, which will then affect your immune system. A saliva test can provide insight into what is going on in the rest of your body. Testing your saliva can determine any imbalance or low saliva flow that indicates oral problems.
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1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Practice good oral habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing once daily, and rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. You should also limit the intake of sugary foods and beverages and drink more water to prevent dental problems.
2. Schedule a Trip to Your Dentist
Regular dental visits keep your gums and teeth healthy. During a dental visit, your dentist will examine your teeth for cavities and decay. If any signs of infection or inflammation like tartar, plaque, and canker sores, etc., are found, they will remove or treat it. Hence a trip to your dentist will not only improve your mouth health but also your overall health.