Posts tagged: stroke

Dr. Oz Discusses How Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

There is substantial evidence to support the link between gum disease and serious health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Now, the mainstream media is taking on this issue too.  In the below interview, Dr. Oz discusses how brushing your teeth daily may help prevent you from developing a heart attack.

Dr. Oz’s interview only reiterates what research has long suggested – your oral health is important to your overall health. Studies conducted in Great Britain, Canada, United States, Germany and Sweden have found people suffering from periodontitis have between a 25% and 100% increased risk of suffering from heart attacks. Other clinical studies suggest a link between periodontitis and the development of strokes. In this video, Dr. Oz discusses how bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream, triggering the clumping of platelets that form blood clots, and increasing your risk of thrombosis. These blood clots can either block blood vessels supplying the heart, creating the right conditions for a heart attack, or they can block the arteries supplying blood to the brain, increasing the risk of a stroke. Periodontal disease has also been linked to other serious conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment for this disease has been found to not only improve oral health but to also have a beneficial effect on rheumatoid arthritis.

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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 »

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 Strokes

As the daughter of a periodontist, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of gum disease is the horrific sight of bleeding gums and exposed teeth shining from my mother’s computer screen as she’s making dinner.

Obviously, gum disease is much more complex and important than its role as food for my childhood nightmares. Tooth and gum infections are of bacterial origin, and can develop slowly and without pain, making the consequences all the more drastic. As explained by Health Canada: “By the time the infection becomes apparent, you could be in danger of losing your teeth.” [i] Gum disease attacks the point of attachment between your teeth and gums, and usually begins with plaque buildups in that area of the mouth, which hardens when teeth are not cleaned properly.[ii]

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