Novato Dentist Discusses Relationship between Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke

Written by Dr. McConnell on May 8, 2012

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition where the gum tissue surrounding the teeth becomes infected. Bacteria grow above and below the gum line, eventually causing the gum tissue to separate from teeth. It is a disease that is far too common, and patients  are often surprised to find there are other serious physical complications associated with the disease. Even though patients at Marin Center for Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry know they always receive exceptional cosmetic restorations, they love knowing they are always getting exceptional care of their gums and overall oral health as well.

Periodontal disease, heart disease and stroke may seem to be completely unrelated, but research has shown that people suffering from gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. Researchers have also found that oral infection is a risk factor for stroke.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Research has further proven that the presence of periodontal disease can aggravate existing heart conditions.  There are several theories which may explain the link between heart disease, stroke and periodontal disease, some of which are

Oral bacteria affect the heart – There are many different strains of periodontal bacteria. Some of these strains of bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries.  This buildup contributes to clot formation, putting the individual at greater risk.

Immune System
– Individuals who have high levels of oral bacteria may also have weaker immune systems. This may set off a chain of events that have been shown to contribute to the onset of certain forms of heart disease.

Since periodontal disease appears to be a risk factor for both heart attack and stroke, it is important to seek immediate treatment.  Initially, yourhygienist or denitst  will conduct a thorough examination to assess the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone.
If surgery is indicated, however, patients no longer have to face invasive gum surgery. Our office uses non-surgical periodontal treatment a patient-friendly alternative to painful gum surgery. For you this means less discomfort and pain, less treatment time, and a significantly shorter recovery time.

On the day of your first procedure, we’ll numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. We use special mcirosnic instuments, anti microbial rinses and site specific antibiotics as needed.  In additon, a tiny laser fiber is inserted between the tooth and gum, and the infection is cleared away. Typically we do a section of the mouth at a time.  Also, critical to each appointment is teaching each patient the best and easiest home care techniques to maintain their oral health.

Our patients report very little discomfort after having non-surgical periodontal treatment, so it is likely that you’ll be able to carry on with the rest of your day as usual. If you think you may be at risk for Periodontal Disease, please contact our office immediately at (415) 450-6284 to set up an appointment for an examination and consultation.