Are Bad Breath and Bleeding Gums Related to Heart Disease?
If you have bad breath and/or your gums bleed when you brush or eat, you may be at increased risk for heart disease. In fact, you may be at increased risk for many other medical problems just because your gums are not healthy. Respected research has shown that gum disease has been related to heart disease, diabetes, premature low birth weight babies, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you washed your hands and your skin started bleeding, would that concern you? It’s the same with the gums. Healthy gums are strong and do not bleed. When the gums bleed, it is a sign of an infection of the gums, usually caused by bacteria. These bacteria do bad things to your teeth and the bone that supports your teeth. Most often, the bone loss caused by a gum infection results in loose teeth and eventual loss of the teeth. The infection is a major cause of bad breath, and according to the World Health Organization, this infection is the most common infection afflicting mankind.
The bacteria can get into the blood stream and settle on arteries causing plague on these arteries, which is a major cause of all of the medical diseases mentioned above. The infection also causes an “inflammatory cascade” which contributes to or may be a direct cause of these medical diseases.
The very best way to diagnose and treat this infection is by looking at the plaque under your gums with a phase contrast microscope. It may also be necessary to do a laboratory culture and sensitivity just as your physician does with infections. That way, if an antibiotic is necessary the right one will be used!
I actually use a Phase Contrast Microscope at NIHA to help diagnose periodontal disease, treat it, and monitor the progress of treatment and how the patient is doing with their care at home.