Connection between dental health and arterial disease

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This week I was asked to make a presentation to the G.V. Black Dental Society on the role of dental and periodontal health in the development of arterial disease, heart attack and stroke. This concept is a lot like the weather:  everyone talks about it but nobody seems to be doing much about it.

I was that way until I became aware that plaque in coronary and carotid arteries have been found to contain the DNA and identifiable particles of the bacteria found in the mouth.

Over time, I have learned that good care for the prevention of periodontal disease

  • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Decreases the number of hospital admissions for diabetes, stroke and heart disease
  • Decreases medical costs related to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and pregnancy

One of my goals now is to engage dentists, periodontists and other oral health professionals to recognize their opportunities to save not only teeth, but more critically, LIVES.

The most dangerous ignorance is being unaware that we don’t know about something.  About a year ago, I attended a program that woke me up to the role of inflammation in the development of heart attack and stroke.  It is not a new concept, but it has been lost in the perception that clot busting drugs, revascularization with bypass and stents is the way that heart attack and stroke are treated.  Now I know much more about the important role of inflammation and the ways that diet, activity, supplements and medications influence it.

In spite of statins and revascularization procedures, too many of us die or become disabled by vascular disease.  If you wonder why, in spite of doing the right things by standard care, you can have a heart attack or stroke, it would be an honor to help you significantly improve your chances to avoid these killers by addressing their lesser known causes.  Knowing your disease and its causes will save your life.