The Links Between Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease

This radiograph shows significant bone loss between the two roots of a tooth (black region). The spongy bone has receded due to infection under tooth, reducing the bony support for the tooth.

In April of 2012, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) publicly agreed with the American Heart Associations publication “Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: Does the Evidence Support an Independent Association?”

While it isn’t entirely clear, at this time, exactly what the ‘causal relationships’ are between the diseases , it is clear that there is a link. Some of the links are things such as chronic inflammation and/or biological factors that can lead to the progression of cardiovascular disease.

Dentists and physicians are being encouraged to tell patients about the links between these diseases and educate, not just to treat the problems. Also, ethically, it’s important that we convey to our patients anything that we see as potential issues that could arise in the future. Be open and honest with your dentist to ensure that this treatment is effective for you in the long-term. Your health and comfort is our ultimate goal! 

By getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis, you reduce the risk of periodontal disease. This, in turn, could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease developing. It’s important to say here, that at this time there is no direct evidence that treating periodontal disease will keep you from developing cardiovascular disease. More research is necessary in order to be able to track the actual results and outcomes. Case studies take many years. The AAP’s stance is that ‘long term interventional’ studies are needed to be able to clearly make the case for reducing cardiovascular disease.

In the time being, it is always best to err on the side of caution. A patient should expect to have a thorough examination to evaluate the possible presence of periodontal disease at least once per year.

It’s important to be honest with your dentist about health issues that you have been diagnosed with. This honestly has an impact on what your dentist is looking for. Your dentist has been trained in far more than just filling cavities! A good dentist can see other health issues going on with your body, by giving your mouth a thorough exam. Don’t discard the information that your dentist gives you because not only have they spent years in school, but they have also attended seminars and constant retraining on new equipment, as well as health issues that have had new discoveries in treatments and diagnosis. Take full advantage of their wealth of knowledge!

Inflammation from periodontal disease causes bone loss (as shown in the photo above). This chronic inflammation can lead to other health issues as well. When you come my office, you’ll receive a thorough examination and evaluation of the overall health of your gums. A treatment plan will be discussed, with your health as the primary concern.
At Kaiser Dental, you will always receive the best care and one on one treatment from myself. By understanding your overall health, I can help protect your smile and reduce the need for costly treatments later. Regular care visits include cleaning, examination, home care instruction and if other risk factors are present, I will discuss options to reduce risk or repair problems while they are still minor. 

 

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