Cardiovascular disease and your oral health

May 2, 2016

What happens to oral health affects overall health. Learn about the heart/mouth link from Selden, NY dentist, Dr. Stephen Scotto-Lavino.

Cardiovascular disease plagues 700,000 adults in the United States. Hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease, valvular problems, heart attack–all are forms of this giant cause of sickness, death and skyrocketing health care costs. Thirty-five year Selden, NY dentist, Dr. Stephen Scotto-Lavino, teaches his patients the importance of healthy gums and their connection to cardiovascular health and overall well-being.

Many factors contribute to gum disease

Unfortunately, Dr. Scotto-Lavino sees signs of mild to advanced gum disease in many of his new patients. Factors contributing to this condition are:

  • Poor or infrequent oral hygiene (Brushing, flossing, professional cleanings)
  • Age (Over 40)
  • Heredity (Gums disease seems to run in families.)
  • Smoking (Encourages growth of plaque and compromises the top layer of oral mucosa.)
  • Poor diet (Carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages)

The American Academy of Periodontology, comprised of dentists who study gum disease and related conditions and how to treat them, concurs with your Selden, NY dentist. The Academy also sees daily stress, teeth clenching, diabetes, and obesity as setting the stage for gingivitis and its more serious cousin, periodontitis.

The connection to heart disease

Studies show that individuals with gum disease have an increased risk of developing CVD, or cardiovascular disease–in fact, more than twice that of people with gums that are not receding, red or infected. The key to this mouth/heart connection appears to be chronic inflammation caused by oral bacteria (Streptococcus mutans)  which live in sticky plaque and stone-like tartar beneath the gums.

As gum infection spreads and deteriorates soft tissue, bone and tooth stability,  systemic inflammation and stress on the body’s own defensive immune system increase.  Doctors and dentists feel that this continual bombardment of micro-organisms adds to damage done by body mass issues, heredity, smoking and even environmental noise. The results are:

  • Heart valve problems
  • Endocarditis, or inflammation of the membrane inside the heart
  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Ateriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries
  • Heart failure

Prevention is the solution

While skilled dentists in Selden, NY and across the United States offer a wide array of restorative and cosmetic dental treatments, including periodontal care, they undergird their dental practices with excellent preventive services. Routine exams, professional cleanings, and digital x-rays ward off dental decay and gum disease and detect a host of issues such as bruxism, oral cancer and sleep apnea.  Plus, if Dr. Scotto-Lavino finds a problem, it’s likely to be far less serious and much more treatable than an issue developed from years of neglect of oral and systemic health.

How’s your heart health?

Keep it good through the trusted expertise and experience of Dr. Scotto-Lavino. New dental patients receive a free comprehensive exam and bitewing x-rays. This is a $150 value.  Call the office for details and your convenient appointment time.

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