Bacterial Conditions You Can Get From Your Poor Dental Health

Dentist Articles

There are many reasons for having good oral health habits, including brushing and flossing daily and visiting a dental clinic like Family Dental Center TriCities, PC at least every six months for a cleaning and checkup. When you allow plaque to form on your teeth, it can harden into tartar, which can lead to gum inflammation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. When you don't visit the dentist regularly for tartar and plaque removal, the infection and bacteria from periodontal disease and poor oral health can affect other areas of your body. Here is information about conditions in two areas of your body that can be affected by bad oral health.

Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

Taking good care of your oral health not only affects your teeth, gums, appearance, and eating but can also cause damage to your brain tissues. If you are struggling with chronic periodontal gum disease, there is a chance it can cause you to have cognitive problems later in your life with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Recently, researchers from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK found the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brain tissues of deceased dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Studies in this research compared the brain tissues of patients with and without dementia and Alzheimer's disease. They found this bacteria, which is associated with chronic periodontal disease, only in the patient's brain tissues who had suffered from either of these cognitive diseases.

Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria is normally found in tooth cavities and is the bacteria that causes periodontal disease in your gums. But when this bacteria finds it way into your blood stream, it can end up in your brain tissue. Brushing your teeth, chewing, and any invasive dental procedures are all events that can allow the bacteria to enter into your blood stream and into your brain. Once the bacteria is inside your brain, researchers have determined that it can cause an immune system response in your body. This immune response releases chemicals that can kill your brain's neurons. Death of your brain's neurons can lead to symptoms that are common with Alzheimer's and dementia patients, such as memory problems and confusion.


Scientists suspect that the inflammation in your gums from bacteria and plaque can cause inflammation at the same time in other areas of your body, including your heart. When you have severe gum disease, your level of a C-reactive protein increases. This is the same protein that rises during whole-body inflammation.

One specific type of bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans is found in the plaque that forms on your teeth. This can lead to inflammation in your heart in a condition called bacterial endocarditis. Endocarditis causes your heart valves and lining to become inflamed and can lead to death. Infection of Streptococcus mutans is the leading cause of endocarditis today and causes fever, chills, a heart murmur, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

S. mutans bacteria in the plaque of your mouth can become dislodged while brushing and flossing your teeth and during dental work on your gums. When your gums are already swollen and inflamed, bleeding can occur during brushing, flossing, and dental work. The bleeding gums provides bacteria an opportunity to get into your blood stream and travel to your heart, where it adheres and begins growing. Once the bacteria has begun to grow in the inner lining of your heart and the surfaces of its valves, it causes endocarditis inflammation.

This type of bacteria, S. mutans, is normally not able to attach and live in heart tissues. But it has been discovered that some individuals have a certain protein in their body that allows this type of bacteria to attach to their heart's tissues. Jacqueline Abranches, Ph.C., a microbiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center for Oral Biology, discovered this collage-binding protein, called CNM which allows the S. mutans bacteria to invade heart tissues. If you suspect you have endocarditis, it is important to see your doctor immediately.

Use this information to help keep your entire body healthy and free of oral-related inflammation.


23 March 2016

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