Can a Tooth Infection Cause A Heart Attack?
According to various studies that have been conducted, it has been proposed that tooth infection can be actually related to heart attack. The real cause is still unknown, but various theories have been put forth according to which it has been concluded that tooth infection can cause a heart attack in late stages if in your early stages you did not give much attention to your dental hygiene.
The most accepted theory till date is that infection of gums that is gingivitis if it exists for a long duration can lead to a heart attack. The main causative organism is the streptococcus bacilli, which gains entry into the myocardium through the bloodstream. Once the infectious agent invades the blood vessel, it can lodge into any specific site and among all myocardium is most prone to be infected. As it is known streptococcus is also the causative agent of rheumatic fever; therefore, through bloodstream infection can be initiated in the coronary vessels too.
There are many other theories, which are put forward like bacteria contains a protein named PadA on its surface, which initiates platelet aggregation and consequently results in clot formation in the coronary vessels. Besides the heart vasculature, Streptococcus bacteria can even invade brain vasculature and results in a stroke. Hence, any infection of the tooth should not be neglected else in long run it may lead to severe consequences.
Another theory which states that bacteria gets adhered to fatty plaques which are present in the bloodstream and thus initiate clot formation in coronary vessels. All this leads to atherosclerosis in the heart.
Many scientists even suggest that oral bacteria at times initiate an inflammatory response, which leads to aggregation of leucocyte and other inflammatory cells, which in turn form aggregates and through bloodstream these aggregates reach the heart vasculature causing its obstruction. Thus, in this manner, a heart attack is initiated.
Data from National Health and Nutrition examination reveals that people with gum disease have a higher concentration of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, which are mainly responsible for clot formation.
So, from all the research and surveys that have been done so forth, one can conclude that tooth infection is mainly blood borne and spreads if oral hygiene is not maintained properly. So, one should be very careful regarding their oral hygiene. A meticulous examination is needed if one suspects gingivitis in early age so as to prevent themselves from dangerous diseases that might occur in later stages.
What Steps Should Be Taken To Prevent Heart Attack Which Occurs Due To Inadequate Oral Hygiene?
First and foremost the most important step is to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice daily. Brushing your teeth before going to bed is a key principle to proper oral hygiene because if food particles are left in the mouth during night hours, they cause tooth decay in the long run when acted upon by numerous bacteria. So, a child should be properly informed about their oral hygiene and it is the duty of parents to teach their child importance of oral hygiene, as it has been rightly stated that “a stitch in time saves nine”.
Flossing- Another next important way to keep your teeth clean is by flossing at least once in a day. It helps to remove germs present between your teeth.
Mouthwash- Use of mouthwash usually the one prescribed by your dentist must be used after brushing. This in turn prevents the growth of microorganisms and keeps your teeth free from germs.
Fluoride- Amount of fluoride in your toothpaste is another concern to be taken care of. An appropriate amount of fluoride must be present to prevent dental carries since it is a double-edged sword. Excess, as well as deficiency, can lead to dental problems.
Smoking- Cigarette smoking is another major cause of heart attacks. Amount of cigarettes smoked in early years of life has its implications in later ages. So, it should be kept in mind that prevention is better than cure.
Diet- Eating healthy food which includes an adequate amount of omega-fatty acids and PUFA. Avoid consumption of saturated fatty acids.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle- One should at a bare minimum do exercise for 30 minutes in their early ages to prevent complications in later stages of life. Yoga and meditation should also be adopted as they have shown a positive effect in preventing heart attacks.
Antibiotics- So to prevent a heart attack due to tooth infection one should be given proper antibiotics prophylaxis and adopt a healthy lifestyle to get rid of it.