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May 23, 2012

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Heart!

Research shows that people who receive professional dental cleanings on a regular basis are 24% less likely to have a heart attack, and 13% less likely to have a stroke.  Dr. Pate would like to explain how keeping your teeth clean can also help keep your heart healthy.

Oral Bacteria in the Bloodstream

Gum disease weakens your gum tissue and creates an opening for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As these bacteria travel through your body, they can inflame other cells and tissues. In fact, patients who have heart attacks or strokes often have the same bacteria that cause gum disease accumulated in their arteries. Here are some ways that oral bacteria can contribute to a stroke as it travels through your bloodstream:

  • Oral bacteria can cause blood cells to swell, which narrows passageways and contributes to blood clots.
  • Bacteria stick to fatty plaques in your bloodstream and block pathways.
  • Gum disease is a chronic condition, and chronic inflammation is associated with hardening of the arteries.
  • Oral bacteria can damage blood vessels and cause brain hemorrhaging—both of which contribute to a stroke.
  • Poor oral health is often associated with poor diet, exercise, and other unhealthy heart habits.

Stroke Prevention

At your regularly-scheduled cleanings and checkups with Dr. Pate, your dental hygienist will clean your gums and periodontal pockets to remove the bacteria that cause infection. Additionally, Dr. Pate will examine your mouth for signs of gum disease so we can detect and treat the condition in its early stages.

Heart disease can be difficult to catch because you can’t feel your arteries hardening.  However, you will likely notice bleeding gums, which is a sign of infection. If you have any changes in your oral health, visit Dr. Pate to examine your condition. Your Atlanta dentist can help keep your mouth—and your heart—healthy. Contact Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424 to request a checkup or cleaning. We welcome patients from Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Lenox, Brookhaven, Atlanta, and surrounding communities.