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Gum disease and heart attack

Is there a link between the severity of heart attacks and periodontal disease?

Researchers from the University of Granada have demonstrated for the first time that chronic periodontitis, an inflammatory gum disease which provokes gradual teeth loss, is closely related to the severity of acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack.

In a pioneering research, published in the Journal of Dental Research, and titled “Acute myocardial infarct size is related to periodontitis extent and severity,” this team has demonstrated that the extent and severity of chronic periodontitis is related to the size of acute myocardial infarction through seric levels of troponin I and myoglobin (biomarkers of myocardial necrosis).

More research is being done but if this is true, the severity of gum disease may now be an indicator of the risk and severity of one?s heart attack.

Why a dentist visit for professional scale-and-polish is as important as home-care hygiene?

Plaque, left over time, calcifies into calculus between the teeth. Calculus, like plaque, provides a good medium for bacteria to breed. Once calculus forms, home-care routine of brushing and flossing will not be able to remove it. This can only be done by visiting your dentist who will either use an ultrasonic scaler or a manual hand scaler.

In recent news, professional tooth scaling was associated with fewer heart attacks and strokes in a study from Taiwan presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.
Among more than 100,000 people, those who had their teeth scraped and cleaned (tooth scaling) by a dentist or dental hygienist had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and 13 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who had never had a dental cleaning. The participants were followed for an average of seven years.

Professional tooth scaling appears to reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke, she said.