Heart disease is the #1 killer in the US (claiming more lives than every form of cancer combined). Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (1). Nearly half of Americans have periodontitis (the most severe form of periodontal disease) (19). Eighty percent of adults over 35 have some form of periodontal disease (23). For patients who already have heart disease, their risk of death increases with every tooth lost (2).
Periodontal disease is linked directly to arterial inflammation (5), and the pathogenic bacteria that cause gum disease are directly linked to increase in blood pressure (and even hypertension prevalence) (6). Recent research suggests that oral bacteria can invade arterial walls (35), and a recent study shows dental and periodontal infection may trigger acute coronary thrombosis (heart attack) (7).
In English? If your gums bleed when you brush, floss or even when you’re having your teeth cleaned at the dentist, then you at least have a risk factor for having a heart attack or stroke. Even a little bit of pink in the sink when you clean your teeth means you have gingival inflammation (and therefore at least some form of gum disease). If you have more severe gum disease, a badly decayed tooth, or an infection/abscess that has gone untreated then you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Seriously — some of the top cardiologists believe that if you have these untreated conditions, you’re at risk for dropping dead of a heart attack or becoming permanently impaired from a stroke.
Now it should make better sense why at Intown Smile Studio we have placed such importance on creating a Total Wellness Dentistry aspect of our practice.
To take this one step further and in a different direction, consider the poor financial health of our nation. Cardiovascular disease health care cost to our country is currently at $315 billion per year. A person with heart disease can decrease this cost simply by having his or her gum disease treated. Periodontal Disease treatment reduces hospital admissions and lowers medical costs by $5168 per stroke patient per year and $1090 per heart disease patient per year (4). And 80-90% of heart disease can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes including getting your mouth healthy (3). You might also think of Total Wellness Dentistry as Totally Patriotic Dentistry!
These other conditions can be affected by your oral health. Learn more by clicking the links below: