We all know the importance of dental care for the prevention of tooth and gum diseases and for its aesthetic value. The pain and discomfort caused by tooth decay can be very devastating and having damaged teeth can be so unattractive that it may affect one’s social life. It now appears that there is another pressing reason to observe the proper oral care and hygiene. Results of a study that was presented during the annual meeting of American Society for Microbiology has shown that bacteria associated with gum disease may also cause the dreaded heart diseases.
Study to Determine Effects of Gum Disease Bacteria
A team of researchers from the College of Dentistry of the University of Florida carried out a clinical trial with the objective of determining the effects of gum disease on overall health. Records would show that gum diseases, which are caused by bacteria that grow on the teeth, may affect roughly 46 percent of the population. While there have been previous studies that associate gum disease with heart problems, no clinical trials have ever been performed to show a causal connection.
For this particular study, the researchers used as subjects mice that were injected with four types of bacteria that have been known to cause gum disease. These were identified as the following: Porphyromonas gingivalis,Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia, Fusobacterium nucleatum. Once these micro-organisms were injected into the subjects, researchers diligently tracked the spread of these germs in the parts of the body.
Gum Disease Bacteria Promote Heart Disease
These bacteria were very evident in the mouse gums as well as in the heart and aorta. This led the researchers to observe that there was an increase in the risk factors of heart disease that include increased cholesterol levels and presence of inflammation. According to Irina M. Velsko, one of the researchers, there was evidence not just of an association but of gum disease bacteria promoting heart disease.
Improved Health through Proper Dental Care
The results of this study may have huge implications in the diagnosis and treatment of the very common heartdisease. It will be noted that there seems to be a distant relation between dentistry with that of the other mainstream fields of medicine. But with this study, it is hoped that the American Heart Association will recognize the very important causal effect of gum disease bacteria with heart ailments.
Future studies may substantiate these findings that may lead to new advances in treating heart diseases. Cooperation between dental health providers and cardiovascular specialists may pave the way for a better management program for heart diseases.
Once again, these findings underscore the importance of dental care. One can reap huge benefits by just following simple reminders such as brushing the teeth regularly, follow a healthy diet, floss the death at least once a day, and visit the dentist regularly.