Search: cardiovascular disease

Can Brushing Your Teeth Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Cardiovascular Disease?

Anyone who doesn’t brush their teeth at least twice a day is at increased risk of developing heart disease according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Although many studies have shown that periodontal disease is linked to the hardening of the arteries, this was the first study to investigate whether or not there was a link between the number of times a person brushes their teeth each day and their risk of developing heart disease.

This particular study looked at data collected from 11,000 adults who had taken part in the Scottish Health Survey. This study was particularly relevant to the Scottish population as the incidence of cardiovascular disease is quite high. The survey asked individuals about their lifestyle behaviours including physical activity, oral health routines and whether or not they smoked. They were also asked how frequently they visited their dentist and how often they cleaned their teeth. Additional information included their medical history, and whether or not there was a family history of heart disease and blood pressure problems.

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Beyond Inflammation – The 4 Stages of Periodontal Disease

A recent study conducted by the CDC, estimates that nearly half of Americans 30-years-of-age or older show some form of periodontal disease— whether this ranges from mild illness, with shallow pocket formation around teeth, to severe illness involving bone loss and systemic inflammation.  For seniors, the numbers are even higher— skyrocketing to an astounding two-thirds of the population sampled.  As with most complex illnesses, early intervention is often key to a better outcome; in this case, intervention may prevent tooth and bone loss, or even later manifestations of cardiovascular disease.

Unsurprisingly, oral bacteria and plaque are the main drivers behind periodontal disease.  As a bacterial biofilm, with a complex, communal structure, plaque is much more resilient than single-celled bacteria and has greater resistance to bodily defenses and antimicrobial agents.  Even in the short term, plaque biofilms have been shown to promote the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes from immune cells; these substances, in turn, contribute to the breakdown of the periodontal ligament— the connective tissue that holds teeth in place. Read More

Link between Gum Disease and Heart Disease Acknowledged by American Heart Association

Studies have found an association between gum disease and heart disease that cannot be explained by the common risk factors – American Heart Association

Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) distributed a press release acknowledging the link between gum disease and heart disease. In this news release, the AHA clarifies its views on the relationship between gum disease and heart disease – yes, there is a link between the two problems and more research is needed to produce evidence of an incontestable causative relationship.

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Understanding the Different Stages of Gum Disease

Did you know that gum disease affects more than half of all people over the age of 30? As prevalent as this disease is, many people still remain undiagnosed. Typical symptoms of patients with gum disease include red, swollen, and puffy gums that feel tender to the touch. If left untreated, the disease can progress and result in loss of connective tissue, gum recession, and even tooth loss. Pus can also develop in the pockets between the teeth and gums as the body attempts to fight the infection. Not surprisingly, this creates a permanent bad taste in the mouth, and sufferers will also have bad breath. Not only does gum disease wreak havoc in your mouth, studies have also shown that is linked to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even impotence.

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Impotence May Be Linked To Severe Gum Disease

If ever a man needed more incentive to take care of his oral health then this has to be it. A new study has shown there may be a link between men suffering from severe periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction.

The population based study looked at 33,000 men suffering from erectile dysfunction, and a comparison group of 162,000 men who didn’t have this condition. They tracked both groups for five years to try to ascertain if there was a link between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease. Even though the study took into account lifestyle factors such as pre-existing medical conditions and income, it still found erectile dysfunction was linked to gum disease, particularly in men aged over 70 or younger than 30 [1]. In spite of these findings, the study doesn’t show that periodontal disease causes erectile dysfunction, only that the two may somehow be associated in some way.

There is already speculation as to what this link, if any exists, might be. One idea put forward by Dr Aaron Katz, chairman of the Department of Urology at Winthrop University Hospital in New York, is that erectile dysfunction may be due to inflammation in the body, and that this could have caused damage to the blood vessels in the penis. This idea does make sense as periodontitis is known to cause inflammation.

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Gum Disease Treatment Can Reduce Medical Cost for Diabetics By $2,500/yr

The results of a study were recently published in Medscape showing individuals with diabetes who received proper gum disease treatment could reduce their medical bills by an average of $2,500 a year [1]. Although the data came from a sample of insured people suffering from both diabetes and periodontal disease and was not a randomized controlled trial, it does emphasize the association between systemic and oral health.

The study looked at data for diabetics with medical insurance, and divided them into two separate groups. The first group received treatment for their periodontal disease and then went on to receive routine dental maintenance treatments, while the second group initially received treatment for their periodontal disease but did not go on to complete the treatment or receive dental maintenance treatments.

It was found that the group of patients who were treated for gum disease on a routine basis had lower medical bills two years later compared to the group who did not receive routine treatments. The findings seem to indicate that periodontal treatment can have a lasting effect on patients with diabetes. Interestingly, the results showed men who continued with their periodontal treatment saved an average of $3,212.36 in medical costs while women who continued with their treatment saved an average of $735.27.

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Gum Disease And The Oral Systemic Link

“Periodontal disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, pre-term birth, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and even cancer.” 

Healthy (Left) vs. Gum Disease (Right)

I see lines written just like this all the time. For someone who has been actively involved in the dental industry, a line like that is pretty easy to digest, but I know a good many people who would stop reading after the word periodontal.  It can be a bit jarring to remember that not everyone understands the oral systemic link, so I want to explain it in a way that makes sense. 

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums that is caused by a select group of bacteria, Read More

The teeth and gums are a gateway to overall good health

It seems there’s a way to lower our risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary artery disease (CAD) and high-risk pregnancies: Practice good oral hygiene.

Researchers looked at the records of nearly 339,000 people who had periodontal (gum) disease to see if those who were treated for it went on to have better overall health than those that didn’t. They found that people who had at least one gum disease treatment went on to have lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations for the 4 above-mentioned conditions. They conclude:

This study shows lower medical costs and hospitalizations in the time period following periodontal treatment in patients in four of the five conditions examined (T2D, CVD, CAD, and pregnancy), when compared to untreated controls. In each case, the difference is both statistically significant and substantial in magnitude (11%–74% lower in the treated group).

The interesting question is why. In general terms they think the “deep pockets” of bacteria and bacterial toxins present in gum disease will, if left untreated, be swallowed, or enter the bloodstream via ulcerated and inflamed tissues. Once there, the body will counter with an immune/inflammatory response that can become chronic and eventually lead to systemic disease.

Although the oral–systemic disease link is complex and is still being investigated, the researchers nevertheless recommend that periodontal treatment “be considered part of the preventive armamentarium for chronic disease management.”

Having Teeth Professionally Cleaned May Reduce the Risk of Heart Attacks or Strokes

The findings of two new studies were recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida and reinforce the links between periodontal disease and the risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes.

Researchers have found that patients who had their teeth professionally cleaned and scaled at regular intervals were at a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. The research was based on a nationwide study which took place over a seven-year period. Dr Emily Chen and Dr Hsin-Bang Leu examined data on 51,000 adults who had their teeth professionally cleaned on at least one occasion against a similar sized group who had never had their teeth professionally cleaned. Neither group had a history of heart attacks or strokes. The study showed those participants whose teeth were professionally cleaned at regular intervals had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% lower risk of stroke compared to those people who did not have their teeth professionally cleaned.

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