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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

Heart Attack, Stroke Linked to Oral Health

Gum disease affects more than 50 percent of the adult population over 30 years old and is the number one way to lose adult teeth. Periodontitis is a complex genetic disease and is now considered a medical disease. Oral medicine specialists use specific biomarkers in blood and saliva to identify hidden risk factors in the mouth that are known to lead to heart attacks and strokes.  Many of these lab tests are easy and inexpensive. American physicians may be unaware of these tests and the value of identifying root causes of inflammation before a patient has a heart attack or a stroke. Remember, genetics loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.

            While the medical community has made significant advancements in saving lives when a heart attack or stroke strikes, solid prevention for cardiovascular disease is severely lacking. Fifty percent of heart attacks and strokes occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Inflammation is the key contributor to heart disease and cardiac events. 

            The bacteria from our gums travel throughout the entire body. When they invade arterial walls, they begin to cause a fire there. Our body’s immune system and inflammatory system try to respond to put out the fire. When our body’s systems are on overload, the dangerous soft plaque that contains the periodontal bacteria eventually bursts, and a blood clot ensues. Fifty percent of unexpected heart attacks and strokes are triggered by oral bacteria that live in our mouth.

            When we know better, we can do better. It’s time we take a serious preventative platform at recognizing the mouth-body connection and the role it plays in our overall health.  An oral medicine specialist should provide precision medical/dental testing to identify the root causes of inflammation.

Leslie I. Bautista, RDH, AAS, is a Bale/Doneen Preceptor for Oral-Arterial Fitness at Dexter Dental Studio, located at 7300 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd., Ste. 300, in Dexter. For appointments and more information, call 734-426-8360, email [email protected] or visit