Question: Is there a connection between periodontal disease and artherosclerosis?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) has been written about for more than 100 years. This link was addressed once again in a 2010 article in the journal Atherosclerosis (issue 213, pages 263-267), which looked at 35 people who underwent complete cardiovascular screening and had a dental exam.
The doctors found that periodontal disease was significantly associated with the presence of atherosclerosis. Compared to study participants without periodontal disease, those with periodontal illness were found to have 40 percent more plaque in their carotid arteries.
I have been looking in my patients’ mouths since I started practicing medicine. There is no doubt that disease in the mouth can affect the entire body. In fact, it is impossible for a patient to achieve optimal health without addressing dental issues.
Furthermore, periodontal disease is a sure sign of other health problems. I suggest good oral hygiene techniques, including daily brushing and flossing. It also is important to eat a healthy diet free of refined foods. Poor diet is the No. 1 cause of infection in the body, periodontal disease included.
A good supplement program also can help maintain and heal the gums. This should include antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, as well as coenzyme Q10, at a dose of 100 to 300 mg/day.