The Link Between Varicose Vein Treatment and Gum Disease

Remember when your mom or dad would yell, “Don’t forget to brush your teeth!” It turns out that sage “advice” was not only good for your teeth and gums, it was good for you veins as well! Scientists have proven a link between the pathogenic bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease (oral bacteria) and the need for varicose vein treatment! In fact, your entire cardiovascular system is negatively affected if you have tooth decay or gum disease because those same bacteria get into your blood stream and cause havoc all over your body.

Scientists estimate that the human body contains an astounding one hundred TRILLION bacteria! So much for Purell and Lysol 🙂 To give you a better sense just how huge a number that is, a trillion is a thousand billion, which is a thousand million, and then if you can wrap your mind around that gigantic number, you’d need to multiply that by one hundred! The American Academy of Microbiology estimates that for every human cell in the human body, there are THREE bacterial cells!

Before you start to squeamish too much, the vast majority of these bacteria are actually beneficial for human health. However, the so called “oral” bacteria, which are very harmful, can actually spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. What’s the first system they encounter? The cardiovascular system! When “oral bacteria” invade the veins of the body, they cause a great deal of tissue damage to the walls of the veins and the one-way valves of the veins that would normally prevent the back flow of blood. This bacterial attack can result in vein damage bad enough to require varicose vein treatment such as EVT, sclerotherapy, or ambulatory phlebectomy.

A study entitled, “Oral Bacteria are a Possible Risk Factor for Valvular Incompetence in Primary Varicose Veins” was published in the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery in 2007. It was one of the first published research studies that fully addressed the link between gram-negative anaerobic periodontal bacteria (oral bacteria, aka mouth bacteria) and cardiovascular disease, specifically varicose veins.

Before this study, vein doctors performing varicose vein treatment noted a significant correlation between inflammation in veins and varicose veins. When sections of the saphenous vein were removed during varicose vein treatment, these varicose veins were often found to contain bacteria associated with oral infectious.

The study cited above designed an experiment to look at this more systematically and in a way where this correlation could be well documented. A total of forty-four patients receiving varicose vein treatment on their saphenous vein were enrolled in the study. In addition, twelve patients undergoing peripheral arterial bypass heart surgery that did NOT have any signs of varicose vein disease (venous reflux), verified carefully by duplex ultrasound, were also enrolled in the study. The heart patients’ saphenous veins would be used as a control and compared to the saphenous veins being removed in those with varicose veins (venous reflux).

A modern DNA technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect the presence or absence of seven of the most common pathogenic oral bacteria, i.e. periodontal bacteria associated with gum disease, in humans. It should be noted that this type of analysis would not have been possible before PCR became routine and relatively inexpensive and fast to perform.

The seven pathogenic bacterial species tested for were:

1. Porphyromonas gingivalis
2. Treponema denticola
3. Prevotella intermedia
4. Tannerella forsythensis
5. Campylobacter rectus
6. Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans
7. Prevotella nigrescens

The results were astounding and caused quite a stir in the scientific and medical community!

In twenty-one out of forty-four varicose veins, i.e. almost half of all those varicose saphenous veins tested, periodontal bacteria were discovered! However, in the control group, NO periodontal bacteria were discovered! None! These results are very convincing that bacteria associated with gum disease and tooth decay can and do cause varicose veins!

Porphyromonas gingivalis (you’ve no doubt heard of gingivitis) and Treponema denticola were the two most frequently found pathogenic oral bacteria found in the varicose veins. Although in lower numbers, Campylobacter rectus, Tannerella forsythensis, and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans were found in four, one, and two varicose veins respectively.

The authors suggested that these pathogenic oral bacteria can easily get introduced into the bloodstream every time the patient brushes his or her teeth. Just a little gum bleeding means these bacteria can enter the bloodstream! The same can happen when the patient is chewing his or her food.

So, if you want to prevent varicose veins and varicose vein treatment, one very important step is to practice diligent dental hygiene! If you do detect any signs of early gum disease, you should see your dentist right away and follow their prescription for curing that gum infection as soon as possible. Cinnamon bark oil and clove oil are also good for fighting gum infections. The longer you let gum disease linger, the longer you let a tooth decay without intervention, the more damage these harmful bacteria can do to your vein valves and the endothelial lining of your veins!

So, it appears that varicose vein treatment and gum disease treatment should go hand and hand. If you have had any problems with gum disease or tooth decay, even minor problems, especially if you noticed your gums bleeding, you should probably have your veins examined with duplex ultrasound. Even if you see no visible signs of varicose veins or spider veins, there can be hidden varicose veins that can only be detected with duplex ultrasound. The correlation between mouth bacteria and varicose veins is so strong, it is definitely worth getting checked out.

You can get a free evaluation of your veins at Metro Vein Centers. Just look them up online and call the location closest to your home. Metro Vein Centers is so well known that people travel to their centers from far away. Don’t worry about getting a referral either because none is required.

Metro Vein Centers offers a wide array of varicose vein treatment procedures and can offer detailed advice on which type of procedure would be best for you if you need varicose vein treatment. Sometimes, if you catch varicose vein disease early, you can prevent a lot more varicose veins from forming so it’s well worth getting evaluated if you’ve had gum disease or tooth decay.