If You Have Heart Disease, Empower Yourself With This Important Info


We’ve discussed on our blog for years the connection between oral health and heart health. We’ve shared information on how keeping your mouth disease-free can prevent serious systemic conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.

Now we want to empower you to get in the driver’s seat when it comes to taking control of your health if you have heart disease. If you must undergo a heart procedure, your cardiologist should schedule you for an appointment with your periodontist to obtain periodontal clearance first. If he/she doesn’t, you need to request one.

Why? You could be at increased risk of heart disease if you’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe periodontitis. For those who possess one or more of the major heart disease risk factors, such as smoking or having a family history of heart disease, we recommend undergoing a medical assessment if you haven’t had one in the past year.

Getting a periodontal clearance prior to a heart procedure is important because it helps ensure there is no inflammation present. Your mouth should be free of bacteria, yeast, fungus or virus prior to undergoing a heart procedure.

Gum disease is a contributing factor if you have heart issues, so we need to get it under control to eliminate this as a potential cause of additional complications following your heart procedure.

An evaluation to grant periodontal clearance includes testing pocket depths in your mouth, and looking for signs of inflammation. Deep pockets between your gums and teeth provide areas in which bacteria can proliferate. A cardiologist does not want any source of bacteria present that can create additional infection or inflammation after a heart procedure.

Educating the public on the oral health and heart health connection has been a priority of the American Academy of Periodontology for some time.

The Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology published a consensus paper in 2009 on the heart disease/gum disease relationship. The goal was to provide cardiologists and periodontists a better understanding of the link between atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and periodontitis, and on the basis of current information at the time, an approach to reducing the risk for primary and secondary atherosclerotic CVD events in patients with periodontitis.

Those of us in the dental profession have a role in fighting cardiovascular disease, the leading killer of men and women in the U.S., by simply educating patients and working more closely with cardiologists. So take charge of your health and make sure you get a periodontal clearance prior to a heart procedure.

Please call our office if you have any questions. We are here to help.

Meet Dr. D

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo received his training at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics and Periodontal Prosthesis in the early 1990s. His training included prosthodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and advanced oral reconstructive techniques, including oral implantology.

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