Understanding the link between dental infections and heart disease all comes down to understanding the role of bacteria and inflammation. Scientists now know the direct link between dental infections and heart disease is due to certain types of bacteria. In this scenario, bacteria found in infected gum tissue around teeth or in the jawbone can enter the bloodstream and move to other parts of the circulatory system, directly causing cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation, or swelling, is the body’s natural response to infection. It has been proven that as oral bacteria travel through the body, this response is triggered, which then leads to the formation of arterial plaque.
Oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, leading to heart attack or stroke. Retrieved clots from heart attack and stroke victims have also showed a very high percentage filled with bacteria from dental infections. Our present day information tells us that a heart attack occurs when a clot dislodges and goes to the heart and a stroke occurs when it goes to the brain. Prevention of both heart attacks and strokes in many cases is dependant on eliminating bacterial infections in the mouth.
Any person who has had a heart attack or a stroke deserves to be evaluated for oral infections. A complete examination consisting of a thorough periodontal exam, state-of-the-art 3D x-rays, and oral DNA testing to determine what types of bacteria are present.
Unfortunately, too many times these infections are silent and our patients are totally unaware that anything is wrong. Sometimes the disease will make its presence known with symptoms that are recognizable.
The American Academy of Periodontology lists the signs of periodontal disease as the following:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums or other pain in the mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Sores in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way the teeth fit together when one bites down
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
As a dentist, I now have a greater responsibility to not only help my patients to save their teeth and create healthy gums, but to help them prevent diseases that are a leading cause of death. Our Fort Myers dental office is at the forefront of this exciting new paradigm shift that is joining medicine and dentistry to help bring this major health breakthrough to our patients.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Attacks
In their groundbreaking book, Beat The Heart Attack Gene, world renowned cardiovascular specialists Bradley Bale, MD, and Amy Doneen, DPN, ARNP, present their revolutionary, comprehensive plan to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Bale and Doneen have created a prevention program that uses cutting-edge genetic testing and the latest science to not only identify but also treat people who harbor undiagnosed and potentially life-threatening plaque in their arteries.
I have become an Endorsed Provider for the Bale/Doneen Method for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.