How can bad dental health cause heart disease?


How can bad dental health cause heart disease?

In: 97

Lots of bacteria. Too much to control and fight. Gums have a lot of blood. Blood circulates to heart. Bacteria goes to heart.

Because your immune system will be on red alert 24/7 fighting your mouth making your body work too hard

Remember, all blood in your body flows to one place, the heart. All blood has to go through the lungs and be oxygenated and then go through the heart to be pumped out to the rest of the body. If you have any bacteria from a diseased tooth that gets into your blood system, it all goes back to the same place, the heart. It’s the same reason people can die from cardiac issues related to IV drug use. They introduce bacteria into a vein and that vein takes blood back to the lungs to be re-oxygenated and then to the heart to be pumped out. But once that bacteria is in the blood pool, no matter where it was introduced into the body, it always has to follow the same order of being oxygenated through the lungs and then back to the heart. Why things don’t happen in the lungs as opposed to the heart is because the heart doesn’t pump out 100% of the blood that’s in it. It pumps out usually between 60 and 80% for a healthy heart. So there’s a pool of blood that’s always in your heart that can become stagnant. And if there’s bacteria in it then it has a nice place to grow.

Edited: Source, me, a nurse

In a word: inflammation.

Our bodies are in a perpetual arms race with organisms that would love to consume our nutrients. Our mouths are full of such organisms. Kept in the mouth and with no breaks in teeth or gums and they do fine, just subsisting on whatever doesn’t get swallowed from our meals.

When gums and teeth get breaks in them, either from mechanical or chemical stressors, these bacteria gain access to that wondrous nutrient rich solution we call blood (or plasma). To combat this our immune system goes to work, ramping up blood flow to the area to bring in more white blood cells and antibodies to fight the infection. This causes swelling (and pain). Some of these chemical messengers leak away from the site to rest of bloodstream, recruiting backup.

Through mechanisms that aren’t entirely clear (at least to me), these chemical messengers that lead to inflammation cause blood vessel walls to become more reactive, eventually leading to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes (to the tune of 2-3x greater risk as compared to someone without dental disease).

Aside from when it leads to actual infections of the heart, the evidence is mostly correlational.

The idea is increased inflammation from bacteria in the mouth/poor oral hygiene leads to increased inflammation elsewhere which contributes to heart disease. It makes sense and people with poor dental hygiene tend to have higher risk of heart disease, but there are also a lot of potential confounding factors so its difficult to conclude causation.