When I visited St. Paul’s recently after my grandpa had open heart surgery, I wasn’t expecting a lesson on oral hygiene and its link to heart disease. I went in expecting to hear about the evils of fatty foods and red meat which are the more commonly accepted reasons for heart attacks.
After finally locating grandpa’s room, my sister and I sat down, tied the ‘Get Well Soon’ balloon to his chair and prepared to listen. It turns out that open heart surgery is a look more intense than I ever expected. I was stunned to learn that my grandpa’s surgeons had to actually break open his rib cage to access his heart. This explained the presence of a small wrapped bag on his chest that he wasn’t allowed to take off. He said that when he coughed it felt like his chest was going to pop open. That was more than I needed to hear to know I was not interested in having open heart surgery and prevention was the way to go.
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Recently, signs of past and present oral infections have been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer
Since the early 1990’s, a number of systemic maladies have been associated with chronic periodontitis. Initially, these reports were greeted skeptically. Many suspected no pathophysiological relationships, and questioned if the correlations were just coincidence or were indicative of etiologically unrelated co-morbidities. Such doubts were sensible given the possibility that data mining may have biased early reports. Nevertheless, others were spurred to perform additional studies that uncovered additional associations, etiologic explanations and assessed the effects of periodontal interventions on systemic conditions.
Years later, it’s now thought the systemic inflammatory burden incurred by those with periodontitis, along with the seeding of oral pathogens via the circulation to other sites, represent plausible pathophysiological explanations underscoring the potential for periodontitis to aggravate or even help induce certain systemic conditions.[i] Read more »