Did You Know that Gum Disease is Connected to Heart Health?
Most people do not know that the health of their mouth is connected to the health of their heart. At Dental Health and Wellness Boston, we are committed to helping our patients understand how proper dental care can impact cardiac health. Several medical studies have shown that severe oral conditions including periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss result in an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, when you get dental treatment, like non-surgical periodontal therapy, you are caring for your cardiac health and your oral health at once.
Understanding The Cardiac-Oral Health Connection
Dentists have long known that gum disease is associated with the transfer of bacteria into the blood and that is why antibiotics were once used as a preventive measure prior to dental treatment for patients with heart murmurs and valve problems. Now, we know more. Studies suggest that periodontal disease (gum disease) is associated with subclinical evidence of risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, including: inflammation and pathogens leading to thrombosis (formation of blood clots) and atherosclerosis (thickening of arterial blood vessel walls).
Avoiding Inflammation with Gum Disease Treatment
New information links gum disease with systemic inflammation. Gum disease causes the liver to increase production of C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of increased systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation is a risk factor for heart problems (including myocardial infarction or diagnosis of peripheral artery disease) in otherwise healthy individuals. With gum disease treatment, such as non-surgical periodontal therapy at Dental Health and Wellness Boston, systemic inflammation can be reduced. Studies have shown that treatment of periodontitis caused a 65% decrease in C-reactive proteins over a period of 3 months.