We Heart Dr. Oz
“If the eyes are the window to your soul, then the mouth should be the door to your heart,” says Dr. Oz, and we couldn’t agree more! In recent years, studies have shown that the health of your heart health can be directly affected by your dental health. Severe oral conditions including periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss result in an increased risk for a heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
Certain bacteria present in periodontal disease (gum disease) leads to increased blood platelet formation, and thus increased thrombosis, or, formation of blood clots. Recent evidence also shows the relationship between gum disease and heart disease by demonstrating the presence of a pathogen called LPS in the gums and plaque buildup in blood vessels around the heart. The pathogen Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is present in the gums of patients with periodontal disease. The LPS travels to the heart through blood vessel endothelium (the thin, interior surface of the vessel). New evidence is suggesting that when the LPS pathogen arrives at the heart and encounters an atheroma (a buildup and swelling of cell and cell debris in artery walls), these harmful organisms can lodge in the vessel walls and stay there. Thus the bacteria is associated with the plaques within the vessels themselves. The presence of atheroma leads to atherosclerosis, a heart disease risk factor and the cause of about 50% of US deaths due to its complications.
Proper dental care is critical to reduce the risk of heart health issues related to oral health problems. Dr. Smith loves this great oral care tips from Dr. Oz:
- Brush all surfaces of teeth for at least 2 minutes once in the morning and before bedtime
- Replace toothbrushes as soon as they become worn (many now have a color indicator signaling when it’s time for a new one)
- Floss between teeth and down along the gum line of each tooth
- Use a rubber-tipped gum stimulator or interdental cleaner daily
- Visit the dentist and get a full exam and professional cleaning by a dental hygienist 2 times a year or more depending on your propensity for periodontal disease
- Have your dentist measure the depth of your gum pockets and have periodic X-rays to determine the health of gums, teeth and bone
- If you have dental anxiety, know that there are many new strategies that prevent the pain and quell anxiety prior to any oral procedures as well as specialized clinics for the super anxious
- Avoid sticky foods and frequent snacking to decrease acid load
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco (also increases risk or oral cancer)