Body’s Immune System Response to Dental Plaque Varies by Gender and Race

by Nicole Orlacchio

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Dentistry recently did a study showing a connection between dental plaque and ones risks of heart damage in blacks and males. Studies showed that if most black males had dental plaque build up, their neutrophils (an important part of the immune system and a very common blood cell) increased significantly. Neglecting ones hygiene of the mouth leads to an increased white blood cell activity, which could help doctors better diagnose patients who are more likely to get infections involving the heart. This finding is significant because people who are more likely to get heart disease could be a result of more blood cell activity caused by plaque.

One of the reasons I chose this article is because my dad is a dentist and I have worked in his office since I was in high school. I just found it very interesting that something such as plaque could have a disease on ones heart. Normally when we think of heart disease it is never associated with ones hygiene. Although there has not been too much talk on the heart directly, it has been significant to a few class discussions. We have also discussed a little information about white blood cells.


7 thoughts on “Body’s Immune System Response to Dental Plaque Varies by Gender and Race

  1. I was particularly drawn to this article because of a family member. My older sister did not have insurance for many years, leading to her avoiding the dentist because she was unable to afford it. She became sick and did not know why but she ended up finding out that neglecting taking care of her mouth by a professional led to her illness. Luckily, my parents were able to pay for the procedures she needed to get her back to optimal health.

  2. I found this blog to be very interesting; many people don’t know how important it is to take care of their body. Many people neglect going to the dentist but I bet if they knew that plaque in their mouth could cause heart damage they would start. I find it amazing that something in our mouth can cause damage to our heart. People that don’t brush and floss their teeth well are not only risking poor hygiene and bad breath; they could be causing heart damage. This is why it is important that we go to the dentist often for check ups and cleanings because they remove the plaque that a normal teeth brushing cant remove. I also found it interesting that this varies depending on gender and race. I wonder why some people are affected by this more then others.

  3. I think it is really interesting that there has been a connection between plaque and heart conditions. This is not an obvious connection but I think oral hygiene is really important and it is good to know what consequences might be for not taking care of your teeth. Dentist always tell you how important it is but it probably would be more effected if dentists gave you this information as well.

  4. I found this article very interesting. The fact that plaque could have an effect on someone’s heart is pretty scary to think about. When I think about plaque I never associated it when heart disease and I have never heard about this before. This is a good informational article because most people don’t realize how important it is to go to the dentist. I think more people should read this article to learn from it.

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