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Q: What is the oral-body inflammatory connection?

Posted March 05, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

A: Cardiovascular disease (CDV) and periodontal disease (gum disease) are among the most prevalent conditions that affect adults today. Periodontal disease affects as many as 75 percent of Americans while cardiac disease afflicts as many as 80 million people or one in three adults.

Recent studies demonstrate the strong correlation between these two diseases. Scientists have found that periodontal infections can contribute to cardiac disease and morbidity. Periodontal disease and the bacteria associated with it clearly represent a risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Sometimes people ignore bleeding gums even though they would never ignore bleeding elsewhere in the body. Hygienists are able to remove bacteria and plaque that a toothbrush just can’t reach. Bleeding gums, swelling and bad breath are early signs of disease and should not be ignored. Regular dental hygiene visits and good oral health care at home are critical to whole health.

February is Dentistry Has A Heart month. This promotion of prevention and education regarding heart disease and its link to oral health is meant to keep people healthy and save lives. You can ask your dentist, doctor, or go to www.dentistryhasaheart.com for more information.

Information provided by Dr. Amie Rockow-Nelson, Ames Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, 415 S. Duff, Suite D, Ames, 515-956-3700.

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