What’s behind the recent increase in heart attacks? Is it obesity, poor diet, or lack of exercise? You might be surprised that some researchers believe the key to understanding your heart attack risk is hiding in your genes — and your dental health.
In today’s post, we’ll dive deeper into the truth about heart disease and how gum disease causes heart attacks. You’ll learn surprising causes of heart disease, how to protect yourself, and how your dentist can help
Fast facts about heart disease and heart attacks
- Nearly 25% of all deaths in America are caused by heart disease or heart attacks
- Heart disease is equally common in men and women, but is often underdiagnosed in women
- Early detection and treatment are key for reducing the lifelong health effects of heart disease
- Obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyles, alcohol abuse, and poor diet greatly increase heart disease and heart attack risk
Let’s review the oral-systemic connection
Imagine your house. If you leave the door open, unwanted guests can just walk right in. Your body works the same way! Your mouth is the doorway to the rest of your body. As early as 1954, scientists began to realize that bacteria in the mouth can spread throughout the body.
The result? Chronic inflammation and immune responses leading to excess stress on the body. Additional research has deepened the connection between gum disease causing bacteria and systemic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.
Do you believe the biggest myth about heart attacks?
What causes heart attacks? Most people imagine the cardiovascular system as something like a complicated set of “pipes” made up of veins, arteries, and capillaries. Eventually, deposits of arterial plaque build up to “clog” the “pipes.”
Revolutionary research by Dr. Bradley Field Bale, M.D. and Dr. Amy Lynn Hubbard Doneen revealed that this isn’t quite right. Instead, plaque deposits become inflamed and damaged, leading to blood clots that are actually the true culprits behind heart attacks.
So where does this inflammation come from? That’s right: the same bacteria that cause gum disease can eventually spread throughout the body, damaging your cardiovascular system, and causing heart attacks.
The BaleDoneen Method
Drs. Bale & Doneen collaborated to create a game-changing playbook for diagnosing, treating, and managing the effects of heart disease. Called the BaleDoneen Method, their protocol goes beyond other attempts at preventing heart attacks.
Instead of treating all patients as a collection of risk factors (tobacco use, weight, age, etc.), the BaleDoneen Method goes further, relying on advanced diagnostic and genetic testing to further segment patients according to their own personal risk level.
Putting out the fire in the arteries
In their efforts to help patients control their cardiac health, Bale & Doneen discovered the role of chronic systemic inflammation. It became so important to their protocol that they began to refer to it as the fire — as in something that could be extinguished to greatly improve a patient’s health.
Taking a proactive approach to gum health
Further research began to reveal gum disease as a vector for bacterial inflammation in the body. Gum disease affects nearly 50% of the adult population and those with gum disease were revealed to have a highly elevated heart attack risk.
Interestingly, not all bacteria affects the body in the same way. The BaleDoneen Method uses DNA saliva test to identify the bacteria present in the mouth. Depending on the bacteria found, antibacterial treatments like Perio Protect may be recommended to limit the damage these harmful bacteria can do.
The oral-systemic connection has made proactive periodontal health a key aspect of the BaleDoneen Method that simply can’t be ignored by anyone who takes their health seriously.
What can you do to beat the Heart Attack Gene
When it comes to your dental health, the most important steps you can take for your heart health include:
- Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day for 2 minutes
- Floss twice daily
- Wait about 30 minutes after eating to brush. Eating demineralizes teeth and immediate brushing can weaken your teeth
- Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to prevent bacteria growth and tooth decay
- Eat a healthy diet full of antioxidant rich foods
- Avoid soda, candy — or any other sugary, sticky foods — as well as tobacco products
Don’t forget: Visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and thorough exams.
How we treat gum disease at Blodgett Dental Care
At Blodgett Dental Care, we focus on prevention, early detection, and minimally-invasive treatments for gum disease. This 3-pronged approach allows us to help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums for life and to minimize their heart attack risk.
We start by working with you to evaluate your diet, review your health history, and identify other risk factors that may be affecting your gum and heart health. We’ll offer advice on nutrition and dietary supplements that can help you improve your whole body health. We’ll also teach you proper brushing and flossing technique.
Frequent and thorough examinations of the teeth and gums allow us to catch gum disease in its earliest stages. Depending on our findings, we may recommend:
- Perio Protect – An at-home treatment used to whiten teeth and fight gum disease
- Laser gum disease therapy – Minimally invasive treatments that eliminate gum disease and fight gum recession while promoting the growth of healthy gum tissue
In between exams we encourage you to be on the lookout for signs of gum disease that may include gums that are:
You’ll also be encouraged to see a physician regularly to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar to further minimize your heart attack risk.
Schedule your gum disease consult today
Don’t wait any longer. The sooner you focus on your periodontal health the better. Your heart and your health will thank you!
Contact Blodgett Dental Care today to schedule your consultation.
Dr. Blodgett completed his pre-doctoral sciences at Portland State University and graduated from the Oregon Health Science University School of Dentistry in 1999. As a modern pioneer in progressive dental care, Dr. Blodgett has become a leader in minimally-invasive dentistry, dental lasers, computerized dental technology, and holistic care. He is widely recognized for the innovative care he provides and is dedicated to helping his patients optimize their whole body health.