Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States dies of cardiovascular disease, which the American Heart Association calls the leading cause of death worldwide. Oral infections are a key risk factor for heart disease, Pacific Dental Services (PDS) notes, with 84% of people with cardiovascular disease also having periodontal disease. Plus, the dental service organization adds, people with periodontal disease are 25% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
PDS is joining with the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation in recognizing National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, February 9 through February 15, a national campaign committed to promoting greater awareness about heart health. This year’s theme, “New Start Better Heart,” draws attention to the role that cardiac rehabilitation has in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease.
“The relationship between conditions in the mouth and cardiovascular disease is undeniable. It’s important for patients to understand that periodontal disease, or gum disease, is one of the leading drivers of inflammation in the body,” said Jamie Toop, DDS, owner dentist at the Rocksprings Dental Group.
“A cause and effect relationship exists where gum disease and the bacteria or inflammation associated may cause heart attacks or stroke. Any medical program designed to maintain vascular wellness should include a screening with a dentist for gum disease,” said Toop.
PDS says that its supported practices are committed to bringing awareness to patients about the link between oral health and whole body health, what the company calls the Mouth-Body Connection. PDS notes that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body, with periodontal disease connected to cardiovascular disease as well as oral cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.