Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of about 2,400 people every day. New medical guidelines published in the American Journal of Cardiology encourage medical and dental professionals to cooperatively diagnose and manage patients who are at risk for heart disease and stroke. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, healthy gums can ward off heart disease and prevent you from becoming a statistic.
Most people have experienced gingivitis, which is the mildest form of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress and involve the deeper tissues surrounding the teeth. Gum disease leads to inflammation and bleeding, which allows oral bacteria to access the bloodstream. Research has suggested that some of these bacteria can cause blood clots in the arteries, which may contribute to blockages that lead to stroke.
Research conducted at several major universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo, has concluded that inflammation is a common factor underlying both cardiovascular and periodontal disease. What does this mean for people living with heart disease or those at risk? Ultimately, controlling both conditions simultaneously leads to improved overall health for patients. Don’t be surprised if your dentist refers you to a cardiologist, or if your physician sends you to the dentist’s office for an evaluation.
Are you at risk for developing heart disease? There are a number of steps you can take to positively impact your health:
- If you take Statin – type medications for high cholesterol, take them consistently.
- Keep up with your medical and dental checkups.
- Eat a healthy diet. It’s good for your gums and your heart.
- Tell your dentist if you are being treated by a physician.
- Brush and floss regularly, and have regular dental cleanings.
- If your dentist tells you that you have periodontal disease, follow through with the recommended treatment… it could save your life!
Most people realize that their dental checkups are important, but people who have or are at high risk for periodontal conditionsshould be seen for more frequent exams and cleanings? Sometimes this additional service is covered by insurance and sometimes it isn’t – regardless, rest assured that your dentist is making recommendations that are in your best interests. We look forward to seeing you at your next visit and would be happy to help answer any questions you may have about managing your risks for cardiovascular or periodontal disease, and improving your overall health.
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Do you have Green tea on your grocery list? If so, you are not alone… it is heavily marketed for its potential health benefits ranging from weight loss to cancer prevention, heart health and more. Recent scientific research supports what Asian medical practitioners have believed for nearly 5000 years: many of the reported general health benefits of tea are genuine, and regular consumption may even improve your oral health!
According to an article that appeared in the Journal of Periodontology, green tea promotes healthy teeth and gums because it contains antioxidants called catechins that interfere with the body’s inflammatory response to the oral bacteria responsible for periodontal disease. Evidence suggests that green tea may have an anti-cavity benefit as well, but interestingly, researchers at the University Of Illinois School Of Dentistry have reported that drinking black tea may also lead to fewer cavities. Black tea seems to inhibit the formation of dental plaque by suppressing the ability of decay-causing bacteria to grow, stick to the teeth and produce the destructive acids that cause decay. This is great news, since about 80% of all the tea consumed in Western countries is the Black Oolong variety.
A few important cautionary notes are in order before incorporating more tea into your diet:
- When sugar is added to the tea, the anti-cavity effect may be lessened or negated – if you must use a sweetener, consider using Xylitol which is a sugar substitute that has its own anti-bacterial effect.
- Tea stains! Like most pigmented liquids, tea can leave a brown stain behind on your teeth. Rinse with water after drinking tea to keep stain to a minimum, and consider using a whitening toothpaste. Remember that regular professional cleanings and perhaps a simple cosmetic whitening procedure available in the dental office can keep your smile looking its best!
Alternative medicine fads come and go, and it can be a challenge to differentiate between the ones that have some real health benefit from those that have little value or may actually be dangerous. As a general rule, it is a good idea to verify claims about products and practices with reliable sources and research before incorporating any supplement or practice into your diet or self care routine. Your dental team is here to help, and a great resource for all of your oral health questions.
Enjoy the many benefits of a perfectly brewed glass of ice tea (or a cup) this summer … with all of its many benefits, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Leave a comment | tags: antioxidant, black tea, catechin, cavities, cavity, dentistry, Green Tea, health, periodontal disease, whitening | posted in Uncategorized