WHY FLOSSING EACH DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
IF YOU think that neglecting your teeth and gums will lead to nothing worse than a few fillings and bad breath, you are wrong. Poor oral hygiene may put you at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
Researchers from University College London looked at results from more than 11,000 people and found those who never or rarely brush their teeth were 70 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease than those who brush twice a day.
Previous research has shown that people with gum disease puma shoes are more likely to suffer from heart problems. “A wide range of bacteria are associated with gum disease and if they are not treated they can enter the bloodstream and affect the heart,” says Professor Damien Walmsley of Birmingham University, a scientific adviser to the British Dental Association.
The bacteria stick to fatty deposits in the blood vessels of the heart, making clots more likely to form which in severe cases could lead to a heart attack.
Gum disease may also contribute to the clogging of the arteries that carry blood to the brain. Several studies have found people who have had a stroke are more likely to have had gum inflammation than people who have not.
The good news is that treating gum infections can cut the risk of both heart attack and stroke.
Gum inflammation is one of the most common complications of diabetes. New research has shown that the link works both ways and that gum disease can raise blood sugar levels and possibly cause diabetes.
When bacteria from inflamed gums enter the bloodstream they can activate immune cells that produce inflammatory biological signals called cytokines. These have a destructive effect throughout the body.
“In the pancreas, the cells responsible for insulin production can be damaged or destroyed,” says Anthony Iacopino of Marquette University’s School of Dentistry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Once this happens, it may induce Type 2 diabetes.” Professor Walmsley says: “A dentist who sees a rapid onset of gum disease that is out of character with the patient would suggest they have their blood sugar levels checked.”
In January this year, scientists linked pregnancy-related gum disease to the death of an unborn baby in California.
Bacteria from the woman’s inflamed gums passed through her bloodstream and into the amniotic fluid where it killed her child in the womb.
“The bacteria found in the baby’s lungs and stomach could only have cheap puma shoes come from gum disease in the mother’s mouth,” says Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.
“This really does demonstrate what dentists have suspected for some time, that infections in the mouth can cause serious problems elsewhere in the body.”
Bacterial chest infections including pneumonia are thought to be caused by inhaling fine droplets from the throat and mouth into the lungs.
People with gum inflammations have higher levels of bacteria in their mouths and may be more likely to develop chest infections which can be particularly serious in people with lung disease.
An American study published in 2007 found that men with periodontal disease had a 63 per cent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those with no gum disease.
“Our study provides the first strong evidence that periodontal disease may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer,” says Dominique Michaud, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Recent research has also suggested a link between severe gum disease and head and neck cancer.
Your dentist may soon be able to tell if you have the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis by examining dental X-rays.
Scientists at Manchester University have developed Puma Madison EVO special software that can detect more than half of osteoporosis sufferers from X-rays.
At risk patients would then be referred for a definitive DEXA scan.