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Can Improving Oral Health Enhance Heart Health?

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Numerous studies have demonstrated a proven link between periodontal (gum) disease and heart problems. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause tooth, gum, and bone loss. But the problems don’t stop there. The bacteria that cause gum disease can migrate throughout the body and have devastating effects on whole-body wellbeing. Perhaps one of the most dire problems associated with gum disease is degradation of heart health.

Cause & Effect

Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque – consisting of calcium, fat, cholesterol, and other substances – builds up in the arteries. (You’ll often hear atherosclerosis referred to as narrowing or hardening of the arteries.) As plaque accumulates, blood flow to organs decreases. An inflammatory response is initiated, as well, which furthers the destructive process. Atherosclerosis can result in stroke, heart attack, and even death.

Researchers believe that the bacteria that cause gum disease play a role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis by contributing to inflammation.

A Heartening Discovery!

Recent findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association indicate that improving gum health, such as by treating gum disease, may slow plaque buildup in the arteries. A study of 420 adults with carotid artery blockages was conducted over a 3-year period. As gum health increased in the participants, plaque buildup in the carotid arteries slowed. 

Targeted Treatment in Virginia Beach VA

Dr. Gregory Schrumpf and Dr. Barry Herman of Schrumpf & Herman Family Dentistry are encouraged by these findings. They’ve long understood the link between oral and overall health and provide customized treatments to prevent and treat gum disease, including comprehensive periodontal charting to monitor gum health, scaling and root planning, topical antibiotic therapy, and laser gum disease treatment.

Call today to schedule a gum disease assessment at Schrumpf & Herman Family Dentistry in Virginia Beach VA. Protecting the health of your gums could protect your heart, as well.

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