Oral Plaque, Coronary Plaque, and Eye Plaque

Question of the day in the New York Times Science section: “Are oral plaque, coronary vessel plaque and eye plaque the same substance?”  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/science/are-all-plaques-the-same.html?_r=1.  The answer is that coronary plaque and eye plaque are related but oral plaque is entirely different.

Coronary plaque that causes atherosclerosis is a soft and greasy substance of cholesterol and inflammatory cells that circulate in the bloodstream.  Eye plaque is a cholesterol filled bubble broken off from other atherosclerotic plaque.  But dental plaque is different: it is made up of bacteria, proteins, sugars and salts.  Buildup produces acid that leads to tooth decay and gum disease

Poor oral hygiene is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.  This is probably due to the inflammation produced by the plaque and with damage from the oral bacteria released into the blood.

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