Did You Know Gum Disease is Linked to Increased Stroke Risk?


May is American Stroke Month, and this makes it an opportune time for us to educate you on the importance of fighting this enemy on all fronts. That includes your mouth.

There are numerous studies that have identified a connection between oral health and heart health. In fact, researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.

Studies that set out to investigate the relationship between oral and dental infections and the risk for cardiovascular disease suggest that oral bacteria and its effects have the potential to be linked with heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

How is this possible, you ask? Bacteria or viruses that start in the mouth may directly infect blood vessel walls, which may cause plaque to accumulate in your body’s arterial walls. That could cause you to develop atherosclerosis, or disease in your arteries.

If you have heart disease, we urge you to make these oral health responsibilities a priority:

  1. Maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth, and flossing between teeth and below the gum line at least twice daily.
  2. Stay current on your routine teeth cleaning appointments. Dr. David DiGiallorenzo will determine the frequency of necessary hygiene based on your periodontal health and medical conditions.
  3. Make sure Dr. DiGiallorenzo knows if you have a heart problem.
  4. Likewise, you should tell your cardiologist if you have periodontal disease.
  5. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, ask your dentist for guidance on if and when you should be referred to a periodontist.

Please keep in mind that you don’t require a referral to see Dr. DiGiallorenzo, a Collegeville periodontist. If, after discussing your concerns with your general dentist, you remain concerned about your periodontal health and its connection to your heart health, please call our office for a consultation.

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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