Regular dental cleanings at your dentist are such an essential part of your preventative dental care plan. During these appointments our hygienist here at New Age Dental will carefully scale your teeth, removing any build-up of calcified plaque, called calculus or tartar. Removing this substance is important for maintaining good gum health, but did you realise excess calculus or tartar on your teeth could be a sign that you are at risk of a heart attack?
You’d imagine it is fat that clogs arteries, but now studies are showing calcium could be a significant risk for heart health. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but researchers have discovered arterial plaques that have bone cells in the plaque. Doctors can measure the amount of calcification in the arteries, and the score is related to how well a molecule called matrix-Gla is functioning. This is a protein found in the circulatory system and which mops up excess calcium from arteries and organs. The receptors on the protein must be activated by vitamin K2.
Calculus is different from plaque and builds up when the pH level changes. If there is excess calcium in your saliva, the pH level rises, and plaque calcifies. When you don’t have enough vitamin K2, calcium is more likely to build up in your saliva, and gradually your body will be less able to manage the calcium so it builds up in places where it shouldn’t, such as the heart, kidneys and prostate. Vitamin K2 is found naturally in fermented foods like sauerkraut, in full-fat dairy products and in organ meat. If you take supplements, check the label for vitamin K2.