Healthy Gums and Your Heart

periodontal, healthy gumsThere is a connection between healthy gums and your heart.

Researchers have found that as gum health improved, the buildup of plaque in their arteries slowed. The narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and death.

The study included 420 adults who underwent tests to assess their gum health and plaque buildup in their neck (carotid) arteries. Over a follow-up of roughly three years, improvements in gum health and a reduction in the proportion of bacteria linked with gum infection (periodontal disease) was associated with a slower rate of plaque accumulation in the neck arteries.

The findings were published online Oct. 28 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“These results are important because atherosclerosis progressed in parallel with both clinical periodontal disease and the bacterial profiles in the gums,” study lead author Dr. Moise Desvarieux, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a university news release. “This is the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases.”

Gum disease-related bacteria may contribute to atherosclerosis in a number of ways. For example, animal studies suggest that these bacteria may trigger inflammation associated with atherosclerosis.

“It is critical that we continue to follow these patients to see if the relationship between periodontal infections and atherosclerosis carries over to clinical events like heart attack and stroke, and test if modifying the periodontal flora will slow the progression of atherosclerosis.

Brush Your Teeth, Help Save Your Heart?

Having healthy gums is good for your heart, a new study says.

Researchers found that as people’s gum health improved, the buildup of plaque in their arteries slowed. This narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and death.

The study included 420 adults who underwent tests to assess their gum health and plaque buildup in their neck (carotid) arteries. Over a follow-up of roughly three years, improvements in gum health and a reduction in the proportion of bacteria linked with gum infection (periodontal disease) was associated with a slower rate of plaque accumulation in the neck arteries.

The findings were published online Oct. 28 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“These results are important because atherosclerosis progressed in parallel with both clinical periodontal disease and the bacterial profiles in the gums,” study lead author Dr. Moise Desvarieux, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a university news release. “This is the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases.”

Gum disease-related bacteria may contribute to atherosclerosis in a number of ways. For example, animal studies suggest that these bacteria may trigger inflammation associated with atherosclerosis.

“It is critical that we continue to follow these patients to see if the relationship between periodontal infections and atherosclerosis carries over to clinical events like heart attack and stroke, and test if modifying the periodontal flora will slow the progression of atherosclerosis.

 

Have You Been Properly Probed?

By Dr. David Pereira

Probing; It’s a dental thing. It is one of several diagnostic techniques that dentists use to diagnose the oral habits of our patients. Most dentists relate probing to the medical equivalent of taking your blood pressure. When was the last time you went to see your doctor for an annual check up and they didn’t take your blood pressure? Hopefully the answer to that question is never. Yet, in dentistry probing is often skipped due to perceived time constraints. So what is probing? It is when your dentist or hygienist measures the depth between the tooth with a periodontal probe measuring a minimum of 6 locations along the edges of the tooth. Why is that? It is how we diagnose for periodontal disease. All patients who come to Greenwich Cosmetic Dentistry have annual periodontal evaluation and that includes probing.

You might ask, why should I care Doc? That’s easy; probing is the main diagnostic tool to diagnose the clinical attachment level. What is that you say? The Clinical Attachment level is the amount of space between where the tooth and the connective tissue meet. This measurement ranges from the theoretical 0 millimeters to the more serious 10 plus millimeters.  That means that the space between the top of the gum line and the bottom of the pocket that attaches to the tooth is able to be measured.

Ok, that’s great, so what does that even mean?

Well, people lose teeth for a variety of reasons, however the three most common reasons are

  1. Cavities
  2. Periodontal disease
  3. Trauma

By measuring or rather probing on an annual basis we are able to monitor changes in the clinical attachment level of your dentition, if caught early there are several options available to try and prevent the periodontal condition from getting worse.

So, what is normal?

Good Question. Traditionally dentists prefer lower numbers. Numbers between 0-3 are good, when you go above 4, then we need to start thinking about treatment options. These options include treatments such scaling and root planning, selective application of local antibiotics and possibly bone grafting, among others. However, all these options can be potentially avoided by a regular visit to our office with regular cleanings and annual periodontal evaluations including probing.

So, if your dentist is not measuring your probing depths, maybe its time to change to the holistic care that is offered at Greenwich Cosmetic Dentistry. What are you waiting for?