Gum disease and cardiovascular disease both affect a large number of Americans every day. These are both very serious public health issues that are actually connected. Having either one of these diseases puts you at a much higher risk of developing the other.

Gum disease and cardiovascular disease are both types of chronic inflammatory conditions. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to fight infection. This is initially a good thing, however if the inflammation is chronic and prolonged then it can have a very negative effect on the body as a whole.  Researchers believe that inflammation is the common link between gum disease and heart disease. Since this link as been discovered periodontists (a periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease) are now working with cardiologists further explore this link and to provide better care for their patients. You can find more information regarding these studies by clicking the link at the end of this article.

You might find that your heart doctor (cardiologist) is now asking you questions about your oral health. At the same time your periodontist will now ask you about your heart health and anything that might affect your heart such as smoking. By working together cardiologists and periodontists can help prevent heart disease by managing and treating gum disease and of course, vise versa.

Remember to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. You’re actually caring for your heart when you care for your gums (and teeth of course since they are attached to the gums). Along with regular oral care at home it is also very important to see a dental professional like a periodontist on a routine basis.

The source of this data is the perio.org AAP July 2009 Patient Page titled “Working Together for Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart”. To find the full article and for more information please visit: www.perio.org

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