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Can oral infections lead to heart problems?


Written by Charan

Last updated

Yes, oral infections, particularly gum disease, can contribute to the development of heart problems. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligaments, and alveolar bone.

When gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to the destruction of these supporting structures and the eventual loss of teeth. However, the effects of gum disease are not limited to the mouth. The inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems.

Research has shown that the bacteria from gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the arteries. This can cause the plaques to become more inflamed and unstable, increasing the risk of blood clots and blockages. If a blood clot blocks a coronary artery, it can lead to a heart attack. Similarly, if a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain, it can cause a stroke.

In addition to the direct effects on the arteries, the inflammation triggered by gum disease can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can restrict blood flow to the heart and brain, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

It is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices and seek treatment for gum disease to reduce the risk of oral infections contributing to heart problems. Regular dental check-ups, professional cleanings, and good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, can help prevent gum disease or catch it in its early stages when it is more easily treatable. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and avoiding tobacco use, can contribute to both oral and cardiovascular health.