1875 Old Alabama Rd #130 Roswell, GA 30076 (770) 998-3838
3189 Maple Dr NE Atlanta, GA 30305 (404) 816-2230
Susan: Today we're going to be talking about the health of your mouth and the connection to the health of your body. One of the biggest links between your mouth health and the rest of your total health has to do with gum disease and how it puts you at risk for heart attacks and strokes. Gum disease increase inflammation all over your body, and it is that systemic inflammation that is the root cause of all disease. Until now, Doctors have been looking at things like blood pressure and cholesterol to check for your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Doctors have been doing this more many decades, trying to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and still heart attacks and strokes are on in the rise in this country and the leading cause of death and disability in America.
It's time for us to look back on heart attacks and strokes and find out what are really, the causative factors so that we can start to be better at preventing these in our patients. Let's take a look at a diagram of a heart attack or stroke. If you look at the diagram starting at the left side, you see a very healthy artery and the inside lining of that artery is a very healthy membrane. It's a barrier that keeps everything inside the blood vessel inside, and it keeps everything away from going into the wall of the artery. What happens as you progress towards the right or towards a heart attack or stroke is that that healthy lining becomes leaky and it allows bad things to get into the wall of the artery. And as those things go into the wall of the artery it pulls in things like cholesterol to create this yellow fatty streak. And that fatty streak is called a vulnerable plaque. And as that vulnerable plaque builds and builds, and grows and grows, it gets to a breaking point and it ruptures. When it ruptures your body sends blood-clotting agents to the vessel, which completely blocks off the vessel and no longer allows blood flow to get past. And if that happens in your heart, it's a heart attack. If it happens in your brain, it's a stroke.
Recent, evidence based science has shown us that blood pressure and cholesterol are not the main causes for this heart attack or stroke. What is causative, are things like inflammation, things like smoking and stress and gum disease; that cause the lining of the artery to become leaky in the first place. Only then does cholesterol play a role and start to build that fatty streak, after the streak develops it's once again systemic inflammation that can cause that rupture that leads to a heart attack and stroke. And as you remember gum disease is one of those causative factors for systemic inflammation. So what are we doing different to prevent heart attack and strokes in our patients? Well, first of all we're looking at things like inflammatory markers, one significant one is called LPPLA2, and we call it plaque two. Plaque two isn't just an inflammatory marker; we now know it actually causes damage to the blood vessel. So plaque two can cause that nice lining to get leaky and it can also be a player in causing that vulnerable plaque to rupture and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Guess what? Plaque two can increase if you have gum disease and if we properly treat your gum disease we can successfully reduce your plaque two levels; and therefore we can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.
So Atlanta Dental Spa, we're looking beyond your mouth, beyond your teeth and into your body. When we see that you have gum disease and you might have other risk factors we're going to start looking for things like plaque two. Either by a simple finger stick test that we can do in our office or we can talk to your physicians about these things. We like to reach out to your physicians, communicate with them and partner with them for the benefit of your health. If you don't already have a physician we have physician partners in the community who understand this science so much better than the old school way. And we can connect you with this physicians in our community so that you can make sure that you and your loved ones can be sure that you're having the best treatment in heart attack and stroke prevention.
So how will you know if you have gum disease? Well, it's estimated that 80% of American adults do have gum disease in one form or another, but a simple way for you to know if you might have gum disease is if your gums ever bleed. When you brush, or when you floss, or if there's ever pink in the sink when you're brushing. At Atlanta Dental Spa, we're not just concerned about your teeth; we look beyond your teeth into your total body, so that we can be advocates for improving your total health.