New Delhi: On the occasion of World Oral Health Day, experts at AIIMS Friday said that dental health is an indicator of one's overall health, including risk of heart diseases and stroke.
They also drew attention of all the stake holders like health care providers, policy makers, NGOs, private sectors, and general masses towards the mouth and body connection.
"Gum diseases are linked to several problems in other parts of the body. Problems in teeth gums is a risk factor for stroke. Periodontal (gum) diseases increases risk of stroke by 1.5 to 2 times, particularly and particularly chances of Ischemic stroke which happens due to blockage of blood vessels," Dr Kameshwar Prasad, head of neurology department at AIIMS said.
Prasad explained how gum diseases can lead to stroke.
"Diseases affecting the gums of an area around the teeth which is resting on bones, that area is very close to blood vessels below the teeth. So bacteria enters through the diseased roots of the teeth into the blood vessels leading to a fight between our body defence cells and the bacteria.
"In this process there is a release of toxic chemicals and a lot of debris starts settling into the walls of the blood vessels. If this goes on for long it leads to narrowing of the blood vessels and eventually leads to blockage of blood vessels and leads to heart attack. If it happens to blood vessels going to the brain then it leads ischemic stroke," he explained.
Professor Naseem Shah, chief of the Centre for Dental Education and Research (CDER) at AIIMS stated periodontal disease is a major risk factor for premature and low birth weight babies.
"A pregnant woman with periodontal disease is sevenfold at a greater risk of these problems. Also, persons with periodontal disease are at increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Recent evidences document that diabetes control is poor in presence of periodontal disease and improves with care of the teeth and gums," said Shah.