Why are healthy gums so important for a healthy heart

Why are healthy gums so important for a healthy heart

Having a healthy heart largely depends on your lifestyle and diet. If you eat a lot of unhealthy food, don’t exercise, smoke, drink too much alcohol and/or suffer from hypertension, your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is greatly increased. On the other hand, following a healthy diet (high in anti-oxidants) and exercising daily can reduce the risk factors for CVD. But how does oral health count as a risk factor?

The links between gum and heart disease

There is mounting clinical evidence that show gum disease (periodontitis) is strongly linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases, including:

  • heart disease (coronary artery disease)
  • heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • cerebrovascular disease – affecting blood supply to the brain
  • stroke (cardioembolic and thrombotic)
  • peripheral artery (or vascular) disease
  • atrial fibrillation (heart arrhythmia)
  • heart failure

Research scientists have discovered that patients with chronic gum disease (periodontitis) have a higher risk for a number of medical conditions associated directly with CVD. These include:

  • endothelial dysfunction
  • increased risk of narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • inflammation

Why does gum disease affect cardiovascular health?

Gum disease or periodontitis affects cardiovascular health for a number of possible reasons, most of which involve the pathogenic bacteria (pathogens) associated with gum disease. These pathogens can migrate from the gums to other parts of the body via the body’s nervous system and blood stream. The presence of these pathogens, including the insidious Porphyromonas gingivalis, in your bloodstream can result in a larger build-up of calcium, fats and other materials on your arterial walls. This increase can fast track you towards atherosclerosis – and ultimately CVD. The same pathogens can also generate antibodies that directly affect your cardiovascular system, leading to the onset of CVD. Then there are the continual inflammation events and cytokine storms as a result of a chronic gum infection. These can have an adverse effect on your heart and general health as well.

What oral health practices can help prevent cardiovascular disease?

Maintaining good oral health is essential to lower your risk of heart-related health issues. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day. Use floss or interdental brushes to clean the spaces between your teeth. Last, but not least, visit your dentist twice a year for a check-up, so that any early signs of gum disease or periodontitis can be treated promptly.

The oral bacteria that destroy your brain’s nerve cells

The oral bacteria that destroy your brain’s nerve cells

Oral Bacteria

Oral Bacteria

The oral bacteria that destroy your brain’s nerve cells

According to a recently published study conducted by the University of Bergen, Norway, certain oral bacteria play a “decisive” role in the development of Alzheimer’s in an individual.

In a news statement released on June 3, 2019, lead researcher Piotr Mydel stated that his team had discovered clear DNA-based proof that gingivitis-causing bacteria can move independently from the oral cavity to brain tissue. The bacteria travel via the close network of blood vessels and nerve fibres that connect the two areas of the head.

Once the oral bacteria are in the brain, they excrete protein and enzyme by-products that can go on to destroy the brain’s nerve cells. When nerve cells of the brain die, the result can be memory loss – and potentially Alzheimer’s.
While there are multi-factor causes of Alzheimer’s, Mydel believes that the presence of these bacteria in the brain significantly heightens your risk of developing the disease and can speed up its progress.

Eliminate P.gingavalis from your body

oral pathogen test

With clinical evidence mounting, it’s inevitable that P.gingavalis will make it onto the high risk factors list for Alzheimer’s in the future. However, you wouldn’t want this dangerous pathogen to silently wreak havoc in your brain and other parts of your body – at anytime.

While the Norwegian researchers have focused on developing drugs that block the harmful by-products of P.gingavalis, it’s a far better strategy to prevent these bacteria from entering your brain in the first place. The best way to achieve this goal is to maintain a proper oral health care and hygiene routine along with regular dental checkups.

P.Gingavalis – the creepy crawler in the brain

The oral bacteria in question have been identified by the Norwegian research team to Porphyromonas gingivalis – or P.Gingavalis for short. This oral bacterium is one of the main culprits responsible for gum disease, and has been linked to a number of general health conditions, including diabetes, strokes, oral cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Norwegian study backed up the findings of a similar UK study published in 2014. In this study, English researchers concluded that the same bacteria species and its by-products were responsible for a repeated immune response that caused the death of brain neurons, as well as nerve cells.

But how can you be sure? It’s easy. To identify and eliminate P.gingavalis & co from your body, all it takes is a simple saliva test right here at Leeming Dental. In fact, we are the ONLY providers of Oral DNA testing in West Australia.

Once we submit your sample, it is tested and an Oral DNA test lab report lists all pathogenic bacteria detected in your saliva. With this crucial information, we are able to customise a 100% effective antibiotic treatment that will eliminate the harmful bacteria present in your body.

Take your oral DNA test at Leeming Dental

For more information or to schedule a consultation, call our friendly, helpful reception at Leeming Dental on 08 9310 3367. In the meantime, brush and floss your teeth daily!

References:

Stephen S. Dominy, Casey Lynch, Florian Ermini, Malgorzata Benedyk, Agata Marczyk, Andrei Konradi, Mai Nguyen, Ursula Haditsch, Debasish Raha, Christina Griffin, Leslie J. Holsinger, Shirin Arastu-Kapur, Samer Kaba, Alexander Lee, Mark I. Ryder, Barbara Potempa, Piotr Mydel, Annelie Hellvard, Karina Adamowicz, Hatice Hasturk, Glenn D. Walker, Eric C. Reynolds, Richard L. M. Faull, Maurice A. Curtis, Mike Dragunow, Jan Potempa. Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitorsScience Advances, 2019; 5 (1): eaau3333 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3333

Can oral bacteria cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Can oral bacteria cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Can oral bacteria cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Can oral bacteria cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Find out what the UK researchers are saying

If you have poor oral hygiene, you are at a higher risk of a number of oral health issues such as plaque, tartar, tooth decay, cavities and chronic gum disease (periodontal disease). Inadequate oral hygiene opens the door to potentially hundreds of pathogenic oral bacteria to your teeth and gums.

Other health consequences

Oral health issues may be only one of the consequences of allowing pathogenic oral bacteria to develop in your oral cavity. A number of clinical studies in recent years have established links between certain species of oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease.

These oral bacteria have the ability to migrate and colonise your brain tissue. The three main culprits identified so far are Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia. Check them out (in order).

These nasty little critters can infiltrate and infect your gums and even your jawbone – like termites in wood. Additionally, these bacteria can travel around your body and enter your brain on a regular basis.

How might oral bacteria trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s?

More studies need to be conducted to find a causative link between the suspect bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the UK researchers are working with the theory that if the brain is exposed repeatedly to these oral bacteria and their by-products, the subsequent immune response may result in death of neurons in the brain area associated with memory, as well as nerve cell death.

Only Alzheimer’s patients had the oral bacteria present in their brains

When the UK scientists tested non-Alzheimer’s patients for the bacteria, they discovered that none had the suspect bacteria present in their brain tissue, whereas all of the patients with Alzheimer’s disease did.

How can pathogenic oral bacteria be identified & eliminated from your body?

At present, the diagnosis and treatment of pathogenic oral bacteria can only be performed via an oral bacteria DNA test and anti-biotic treatment. Root planing, a dental treatment used to deep clean between the teeth and gums, is a treatment method that can only remove the plaque and calculus in those areas.

oral pathogen test for oral bacteria

Oral bacteria that can crawl their way into your brain

In 2014, UK scientists were first able to identify the presence of the three oral bacteria (listed above) in the brain tissue of living Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers established that at least two of the bacteria – once firmly established in the oral cavity – had the ability and versatility to enter the brain via two different pathways.

The first pathway was via the bloodstream where they could attach to red blood cells, and travel directly into the brain – where they get off because there are no immune checkpoints. What this means for patients with bleeding gums, is that every time they brush their teeth or eat food, a fresh influx of bacteria can enter the bloodstream and reach the brain in a matter of seconds.

The second pathway came as a surprise to the UK researchers. Since the bacteria are motile (capable of motion), they were able to “crawl” their way to the brain via the nerves that connect tooth roots to the brain – a short distance of a several centimetres.

References:

Singhrao, S. K., Harding, A., Poole, S., Kesavalu, L., & Crean, S. (2015). Porphyromonas gingivalis Periodontal Infection and Its Putative Links with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mediators of inflammation, 2015, 137357.

Poole, S., Singhrao, S. K., & Crean, S. J. (2014). Emerging evidence for associations between periodontitis and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Faculty Dental Journal, 5(1), 38-42. doi:10.1308/204268514×13859766312719