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How Good Dental Health Care can Lead to a Healthier Heart

Health experts have long been aware of a link between gum disease and heart disease, but until now have struggled to identify the cause of the connection. New research from scientists at the Universit...

Health experts have long been aware of a link between gum disease and heart disease, but until now have struggled to identify the cause of the connection. New research from scientists at the University of Bristol and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland suggests that the link is caused by the Streptococcus bacterium, which enters the bloodstream through unhealthy gums and deposits a clot-forming protein, increasing the risk of heart failure.

Streptococcus is the bacteria responsible for causing gum disease and tooth plaque. Research shows that once it enters the bloodstream, it creates a protein known as PadA, which causes the platelets in the blood to stick together and clot. The platelets encase the bacteria, protecting it from both the immune system and antibiotics that might be used to try and treat the infection.

Professor Howard Jenkinson, who led the research, said: “Unfortunately, as well as helping out the bacteria, platelet clumping can cause small blood clots, growth on the heart valves, or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart and brain.”

Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque that occurs when teeth are not cleaned properly. Studies show that 95% of people will suffer from some form of gum disease during their lifetime, but most cases are easily preventable. Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between teeth with interdental brushes or floss, cutting down how often sugary foods and drinks appear in the diet and visiting a dentist regularly are all vital parts of a good oral health routine.

It is generally recommended to see a dentist for a check-up at least every six months, even if your teeth look and feel healthy. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, and many people ignore non-emergency dental problems, which can often cause them to become significantly worse.

Sovereign Health Care offers a dental cash plan which allows you to claim money back on the costs of a range of dental health care treatments including fillings, check-ups and hygienist fees, x-rays and denturesFree Articles, both Private and NHS.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Founded in 1873 as a local hospital fund, Sovereign Health Care has been helping to make health care more affordable and accessible for over 135 years. We are an independent, not-for-dividend company dedicated to providing competitively priced products designed to meet the needs of our customers. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and a member of the British Health Care Association. Our Health Care Cash Plans allow you to claim cash back against a range of private and NHS medical costs, including dental care, contact lenses and glasses.



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