An article which appeared in The Washington Post on August 19 reports what I’ve been telling my patients for years. “Watch Your Mouth,” by Ranit Mishori, reports that, “the way to a healthy heart might be through your gums and teeth.” We have long been telling our patients that the health of their teeth and gums can affect their overall health.
Studies have found that periodontal bacteria may increase the risk for heart disease, specifically that: (1) the total number of periodontal bacteria in subgingival plaques was higher in individuals that have suffered from an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack); and (2) the DNA from different kinds of periodontal bacteria in plaque was also in the patients’ heart arteries. These findings help substantiate what we have long thought: bacteria from a periodontally infected area cause inflammation in the gums that opens up pores in the surrounding blood vessels, which enables the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body and cause great harm. Think of your bloodstream as a river to be protected from pollution. We protect our waterways from pollution by prohibiting toxic waste in their vicinity. Untreated periodontal disease may be likened to the toxic dump along the river that is our bloodstream. Our bloodstream carries bacteria from periodontal plaques, polluting the arteries of the heart downstream, leading to heart disease.
The good news is that brushing and flossing regularly reduce the likelihood of gum disease and the overall health risks associated with gum disease. In addition, gum disease treated in its early stages is reversible. Periodic deep cleanings can enhance overall health and wellbeing. Our office takes great pride in the fact that our patients have the cleanest mouths in the Northern Virginia area. Our exceptional hygiene team and the leading edge technology in our office ensure that our patients have clean, healthy mouths. For information about the link between oral health and overall health, visit my website page at www.ryesmilesforlife.com/html/dental-health.html.