Oral Health and the Heart

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Oral health affects the overall well-being of our bodies, that is what we have been told to encourage us to visit the dentist regularly, but is there an actual link? You might be surprised that recent studies have made a connection between poor oral health and heart disease, although further research is still needed to fully understand it.  Let’s discover how oral bacteria can trigger heart disease, the associated symptoms and how to prevent such incidences.

How oral bacteria affect the heart?
Our mouth harbors many bacterial species, some of which are harmless and considered a natural habitat of the oral cavity, yet most of them, if found in large numbers, will lead to oral infections, such as dental decay and gum inflammation. In certain cases, where a person is immunocompromised, due to old age, medical conditions or as a side effect of taking certain drugs, bacteria will become opportunistic and travel through the bloodstream affecting many organs such as the heart.

What heart conditions are associated with oral bacterial?
Arteriosclerosis; plaque (made of fats, cholesterol and other substances) gets deposited inside the wall of arteries that supply the heart muscle, with time, this plaque mass will get inflamed and repute, leading to blood clots which will restrict the blood flow to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, oral bacteria such as streptococcus viridians have been implicated in such blood clots.

A person with this type of condition will suffer from coronary heart disease; they will develop a sudden dull heavy pain in the middle of the chest, radiating to the arm and shoulder, along with difficulty in breathing, dizziness and sweating. If this is not managed in a timely manner, it can be fatal.

Infective endocarditis; this is a fatal condition where there is an infection in the inner lining of the heart. A patient with prosthetic heart valves or congenital heart disease is practically at higher risk of getting this. Oral bacteria, mainly streptococcus viridians will travel along with the blood until it reaches the heart, where it will adhere to its inner surface leading to severe inflammation.

The infected individual will have chest pain while breathing, shortness of breath, night sweats, fever and chills.

Other organs; lung infection (pneumonia) and joint infection (rheumatoid arteritis) are linked to the presence of oral bacteria as well. Although, as mentioned, further research needs to be done to fully understand this association.

So, how can we prevent such incidents?
Oral hygiene is the keyword, when we practice proper oral hygiene measures; we control the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth, thus reducing the risk of developing general health disorders.

You can do that by following these simple steps:

Lastly, it is important to keep your dentist informed regarding your heart problems; you need to state your full medical history along with the medications you are taking. Certain elective procedures can be postponed, if your dentist sees it might pose a risk of developing a heart infection.

Minimize the Impact of Sugar on Teeth

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Bacteria in the mouth may be both useful and dangerous.  When sugar is consumed the bacteria in the mouth quickly start producing acid.  Infectious bacteria feed on sugar, which produces acids that eat away at teeth’s protective enamel.  Cavities and holes in teeth are a result from the bacterial infection caused by the acids. If left untreated, cavities may penetrate into the inner layers of teeth, causing discomfort and tooth loss.  Fortunately, there are steps we can take to repair the harm that acids produce.

Start by educating yourself with the amount of sugar in foods and drinks.  It is also important to be informed of the many different forms and names of sugars in the foods and beverages we consume. What are the foods and drinks consumed daily?  For instance most of us drink coffee or tea daily, slowly start decreasing the amount of sugar you sprinkle in your tea or coffee.  Over time, taste buds become accustomed to the subtle taste difference and it is an easy step to help reduce your sugar consumption. Switching to agave nectar rather than sugar in your daily coffee is another option.  Agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s, it will not cause as much of a jump in blood sugar levels.  In addition to being available in most supermarkets, agave nectar is also becoming more common in coffee shops. When agave is not readily available at local coffee shops, or if the taste of agave is an issue, simply reduce the amount of sugar.

When consuming something sweet or sticky try to shorten the amount of time the residue stays on teeth.  Leaving sugary, sticky residue on teeth for longer periods of time may cause additional harm to your teeth since they will be exposed to more acidic conditions.  To help reduce the residue on your teeth schedule a dental deep cleaning and checkup twice per year.

Whenever the sweet tooth urge starts to kick in be equipped with nutritious sugar-free snacks.

Or make one half of the snack nutritious sugar-free before you indulge. An excellent example is pairing chocolate with almonds, oats, or strawberries.  There are many useful resources on the internet that can help you discover and create healthier teeth friendly snacks.

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Find yourself having to chew gum or use breath mints all the time to get rid of that stubborn odor? You might be one of four people in the world that suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis. Halitosis is a condition in which the odor from your mouth exceeds what is deemed socially acceptable.

Now, bad breath and halitosis are caused by many factors from disease to common lifestyle choices. If you have a consistently dry mouth and use tobacco products regularly, you have a much higher likelihood of developing bad breath. Poor dental hygiene, having dentures, and odor-causing bacteria are other notorious factors contributing to halitosis. Some serious conditions such as periodontal disease and a respiratory tract infection could also be causing that problematic and pesky smell.

Now not to worry, halitosis and bad breath are not something you have to get used to and accept. There are several ways in which you can overcome this annoying hurdle. The main steps are:

1) Treatment of Underlying Disease
After visiting a dental specialist, you may be diagnosed with periodontal disease or a respiratory tract infection. It is very common to experience bad breath when dealing with these conditions. By going to a dentist, you will get treated for all the infections within your gum line which may cause inflammation. This is most often caused by a lot of yellow buildup of plaque around the teeth very close to the gum-line.

2) Removal of Build-Up
A build-up, similar to the one seen in periodontal disease, may cause bad breath even before causing disease. It would be a good precaution to look out for this as most dentists will be able to remove all the plaque. Bacteria build-up on the tongue is also a cause for concern. However, brushing regularly, using a tongue scraper as well as a bacterium-killing mouthwash could make the build-up subside within days or weeks.

3) Reinstating Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing regularly would be the best course of action if you do not have a condition or build-up. By being more proactive in oral hygiene, such as brushing longer and in different directions, you are sure to improve your breath.

4) Avoiding Certain Foods
Certain foods you eat could adversely impact how your breath smells. Some foods to avoid would be onion, garlic and an excessive consumption of coffee all have the potential to make your breath smell unpleasant.

Vitamins for Healthy Gums

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Vitamins and minerals play a significant role in healthy gums and overall oral health. The good news is that many of the vitamins and minerals that are required for healthy gums can be obtained from a balanced diet. People who have a vitamin deficiency can experience oral health problems such as tooth decay, bleeding gums, receding gums, and even tooth loss. It is important to understand which vitamins and minerals are needed for people with gum disease in order to prevent any future complications. Better still, the same vitamins can help prevent gum disease in the first place.

Vitamin C
This powerful antioxidant protects and strengthens gum tissue and the connective tissue that holds everything together in your mouth. It is one of the most important vitamins for oral health as it also helps fight off bacteria that can lead to inflammation and infections. Vitamin C reduces bleeding gums and can turn periodontal disease around in many cases.

Vitamin D
Also known for its help with overall tooth health by promoting mineralization, vitamin D is also a necessary nutrient for healthy gums. Deficiencies directly lead to inflammation, gingivitis, and other painful and unattractive problems. While studies are inconclusive about whether it actually offers a cure or treatment for existing gum issues, they are much more prevalent in people without sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin A
This essential vitamin for gum disease health boosts your body’s natural ability to protect your teeth and gums by influencing saliva production. Although many might not like to think about it, saliva does a very important job in your mouth. It helps break down food molecules and keeps things clean in between tooth brushing and flossing.

B Complex Vitamins
Lack of sufficient B vitamins also leads to bleeding gums, inflammation, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and other periodontal diseases. This is especially true for folate and thiamine.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3s contribute greatly to the overall health of gum tissue. Studies have clearly demonstrated improvement in existing gum disease after taking these supplements. The study results have shown spaces between gums and teeth decreased while more connective tissue reattached the gums versus groups not ingesting these essential fatty acids.

Zinc
Although this is a mineral instead of a vitamin, it is an essential part of maintaining gum health and preventing periodontal disease. It has actually shown to reduce levels of plaque in the mouth for both children and adults, especially those with diabetes. Zinc is also an anti-inflammatory and shows promise in minimizing the severity of chronic gum disease overall.

Coenzyme Q10
Another well-known antioxidant that benefits a host of body systems, CoQ10 has demonstrated excellent levels of protection for people with gum disease. It minimizes inflammation and especially helps the healing process after invasive dental procedures. This supplement can get you on the road to gum disease health and recovery more quickly.

On your next check-up visit to Sahara Dental Las Vegas, ask your dentist what vitamins and minerals you may need for healthier gums.