Posts tagged: heart disease

World Health Organization Report Emphasizes Need for Drastic Oral Health Improvement

A report by the World Health Organisation on a global overview of oral health found that in spite of improvements, problems still persisted both in developed and developing countries, and were particularly prevalent amongst underprivileged groups.

Although preventative and curative oral healthcare is available here in North America, not everyone has sufficient coverage. Certain groups, such as the elderly or disabled, do not necessarily have access to affordable dental care. The problem is the shortage of oral health personnel. The majority of oral health services are offered from regional or central hospitals, and the lack of resources means little attention is given to preventative and restorative dental care.

The global prevalence of periodontal disease plays a significant role in oral disease, yet most oral healthcare providers and the general public fail to give it the attention it deserves. The purpose of the WHO report was to put the incidence of periodontal disease into perspective globally, as well as looking at strategies to prevent and control this disease. Read more »

Gum Disease May Mean More Than Just Bad Breath

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1, 43% of Americans will have lost at least six teeth by the age of 65, and many of these teeth will have been lost due to periodontal disease. Another 18% have lost all their teeth. While this statistic is extremely grim, periodontal disease has much wider implications for overall health, and one of the earliest signs of periodontal disease can be persistent bad breath.

Although it’s upsetting to have bad breath, it is one of the mildest side-effects of gum disease. Gum disease is a potentially serious condition, and clinical studies have shown that gum disease, or periodontal disease, generally develops as a result of poor oral hygiene. Japan’s Kyushu Dental College2 has done extensive research into the causes of bad breath, and has identified the microbes responsible for causing this somewhat antisocial condition.

They examined 101 adult volunteers, some of whom were suffering from periodontal disease while others had healthy mouths. By analyzing saliva samples from the group, the research team was able to identify species of a microbe called Bacteroides forsythus, which is normally found deep under the gum line in cases of advanced periodontal disease. This microbe is strongly correlated with bad breath. While this is interesting, it’s important to remember that poor oral health can have far more serious ramifications for your overall health. Read more »

Cavity-Causing Bacteria Linked To Endocarditis

We have long ago heard that gum disease may be linked to heart disease, but now due to recent discoveries made at the University of Rochester, there is even more evidence to shed light on why and how our oral health may affect the heart.

Thanks to the investigative work of Jacqueline Abranches, Ph.D. and her team at the University of Rochester’s Center for Oral Biology, we can now better understand why the cavity-inducing bacteria called Streptococcus mutans may be a leading cause of endocarditis, the potentially deadly inflammation of the heart valves. Infectious endocarditis can result in the destruction of heart valves and cardiac muscle, leading to “leaky heart valves” and heart failure.  Untreated or undertreated endocarditis is often fatal.

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A Message About Gum Disease After Grandpa’s Open Heart Surgery

When I visited St. Paul’s recently after my grandpa had open heart surgery, I wasn’t expecting a lesson on oral hygiene and its link to heart disease.  I went in expecting to hear about the evils of fatty foods and red meat which are the more commonly accepted reasons for heart attacks.

After finally locating grandpa’s room, my sister and I sat down, tied the ‘Get Well Soon’ balloon to his chair and prepared to listen.  It turns out that open heart surgery is a look more intense than I ever expected.  I was stunned to learn that my grandpa’s surgeons had to actually break open his rib cage to access his heart.  This explained the presence of a small wrapped bag on his chest that he wasn’t allowed to take off.  He said that when he coughed it felt like his chest was going to pop open.  That was more than I needed to hear to know I was not interested in having open heart surgery and prevention was the way to go.

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Gum Disease and Its Link To Heart Disease

Patients with gum disease can be almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease

Can gum disease affect your heart’s health? The latest studies are suggesting so. Scientists have found that people with gum disease can be almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as healthy patients1.  Other studies have shown that having common problems in oral health, such as gum disease, can be as good of a predictor of heart disease as cholesterol levels2.

More than half of all people over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease, but many still do not realize the serious health risks that have been associated with having oral health problems. For the past 80 years, heart disease has been one of the leading causes of death in the US3.  Much research has shown that a link between gum disease and heart problems exists, but we currently do not understand how this relationship actually works. Read more »

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