Many are well versed in the so-called “common sense facts” about heart disease prevention: These include eating a healthy diet, watching salt intake, and getting enough exercise and sleep. Far fewer, however, may know that good oral health, including regular visits to a dentist, can also play an important part in heart disease prevention.
Sep 02, 2015 /prREACH/ -- LAKE OSWEGO, OR -- August 31, 2015
Many are well versed in the so-called "common sense facts" about heart disease prevention: These include eating a healthy diet, watching salt intake, and getting enough exercise and sleep. Far fewer, however, may know that good oral health, including regular visits to a dentist, can also play an important part in heart disease prevention.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to periodontal disease and atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis occurs when cholesterol, calcium, and large white blood cells called macrophages (harbingers of inflammation) build up in artery walls. Periodontal disease can promote this inflammation of blood vessels and make the risk of atherosclerosis more likely. People who have periodontal disease, for example, typically have elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that is associated with a greater risk of coronary artery disease. Those with periodontal disease also have elevated levels of another marker for inflammation that can mean a patient is at greater risk of heart disease, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2.
Dr. Patrick Morrissey of Boones Ferry Dental seeks to educate patients on the importance of good oral health and its connection to good cardiovascular health and heart disease prevention. His philosophy as a dentist is "always to do what is best for the patient."
Good dental hygiene can reverse periodontal disease and help prevent heart disease.
In regard to heart disease prevention, preventative periodontics and dentistry are the gentle but effective weapons of choice. Regular exams mean that any signs of gum disease can be caught early. Thorough cleaning and polishing removes plaque buildup and tartar that can cause gum inflammation and, if left unchecked, arteriosclerosis.
Regular checkups can also help prevent and even partially reverse heart disease in patients who already have active periodontal disease
Even when patients already have active periodontal disease, regular checkups can still help prevent heart disease in those patients. Patients who receive good dental care on a regular basis and take their own oral hygiene seriously at home can improve vascular function over time.
One study used something called the carotid intimal medial thickness test to show that treating periodontal disease aggressively can also partially reverse existing vascular disease and thus help reverse and prevent heart disease. This test assesses how thick the plaque located in the carotid arteries is. The thicker the plaque, the less space there is for blood travel through the vessel and the greater risk the patient has for heart disease, including catastrophic events like heart attack and stroke. By the same token, as the plaque build up dissolves, the threat of heart disease and catastrophic events as described lessen.
About Boones Ferry Dental Patrick Morrissey, DDS, graduated from UCLA 1999 and, after graduating, moved to Portland, Oregon. He completed his general residency at the VA hospital there. He established Boones Ferry Dental in Lake Oswego, Oregon in 2001. Boones Ferry Dental provides a full range of dental services, including: Preventative periodontics Tooth colored restorations Scaling and root planing Crowns and bridges Root canal therapy Teeth whitening Preventative dentistry Cosmetic dentistry General dentistry Dental implants