Professional dental cleaning is good for your heart!

Posted by Dental News Team On November - 10 - 2009

Our immune system has millions of micro-organisms and viruses to fight every day!

bakterienUsually it wins, if not then it doesn’t take long to find out – we get sick. Our bodily orifices are a gateway to pathogens. This is why the largest openings  (mouth, rectum, genitals, ears, nose) are equipped with special „defense stations“ used by our immune systems, e.g. the ones in the mouth, the tonsils.

But let’s talk about the smaller „orifices“ for a moment, such as the nails or teeth. Teeth are usually „joined“ to the gums; there is normally no hiding place for bacteria in a healthy periodont. However, this changes in cases of inflammation of the gums.

The inflammation destroys the tooth-gum complex, moreover blood vessels „swell“, and all this makes it easier for the bacteria in our mouths to get into our blood vessels. Doctors call this „transient bacteraemia“, which can be fatal to patients with a heart condition. This is because:
Normally bacteria are destroyed by the immune system, unless the bacteria manage to escape detection by the immune cells in time. Bacteria especially like doing this in „thrombotic vegetation“. This is a kind of „blood crust“  in the blood vessels.

Mainly consisting of blood corpuscles, this structure usually forms in places where the flow of blood is somehow obstructed. These „disturbances“ either occur naturally, as in the case of congenital heart defects, or they can be acquired, e.g. when a patient has artificial heart valves, or artificial vessels.

If bacteria manage to get into our vessels, they can “hide out” in these blood crusts and are safe from our immune cells. When immune cells float by they don’t really„pay attention“ to blood crusts, as they are a part of the body. The immune system only attacks foreign elements. But inside the blood crusts, the germs can multiply until there are so many of them that they start to disperse. The immune system is no longer capable of fighting off the invaders by itself – and depending on where the germs are, organs in that part of the body can become infected.

Regular dental cleaning perfomed by a professional makes your teeth and gums more resilient, reduces the harmful germ flora in your mouth, and can even protect your heart, as stated in the title!

More on the topic of dental cleaning here!

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