As President Barack Obama declared in 2015, February is American Heart Month. This campaign is designed to help educate people about ways to keep one of their most important organs healthy—and it’s also a great time to learn about the potential connections between periodontitis, laser dentistry, and heart disease.
Correlation and Causation
Traditionally, people tend to think of their oral health as separate and distinct from the rest of their body. But increasingly, researchers are finding that nothing could be further from the truth. Recent studies have found a strong correlation between gum disease and poor heart health, although the exact nature of this connection is still not entirely understood. It is possible that gum disease can lead to heart problems, or that the causation runs in the other direction and heart disease leads to poor gums. Another possibility is that a third, differently related problem causes both heart and gum disease.
Infection and Inflammation
The strongest link between the two conditions is inflammation or swelling. This can lead to hardened arteries, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. However, inflammation also occurs with periodontitis, as bacteria infects the tooth sockets and causes pain and reddening. Since blood travels from the heart to the gums and back again, it is possible that the presence of inflammation in one place can lead to inflammation in another. More research is needed to determine exactly how this happens.
If you are trying to improve your heart health this February, then getting more exercise and eating healthier are two great ways to do it. However, you can also protect yourself by brushing and flossing more often, and getting treatment if you suffer from gum disease. The Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®) uses special light to kill the bacteria that cause gum problems, and is a minimally invasive, highly effective method.
To learn more about LANAP® and laser dentistry, then contact our office for an appointment with Dr. Andres Sanchez. Call (952) 479-4705 today.