Prevention of Heart Disease at the Dentist

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More research has come out recently showing significant cardiovascular disease risk for those with gum disease. “We’re not talking about people with advanced periodontal disease,” said Dr. Kowolik of University of Indiana, “we’re talking about healthy people who simply neglect oral hygiene.”

In addition to regular brushing and flossing at home, good oral hygiene requires regular dental exams and teeth cleaning. The frequency of teeth cleaning (hygiene appointments) depends on the individual patient’s needs. Some patients require cleanings every six months. Many patients, however, require appointments more frequently due to the existence of other issues, i.e. health issues (like reflux), crowded teeth, a tendency to build up bacteria (plaque), or the existence of gum pockets. These patients require cleanings as often as every three months to keep their gums and heart healthy.

Unfortunately, some patients with dental insurance policies that only reimburse for cleanings every six months become “penny wise and pound foolish”. By foregoing the minimal out of pocket costs of additional cleanings or more extensive hygiene procedures, some patients may run the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The impact on the patient’s health, quality of life, and pocketbook can far exceed the lifetime costs of an effective regularly scheduled hygiene program.

For more information read my “Gum Disease and Heart Disease” blog. For an evaluation of your oral fitness, contact our Alameda office for an exam.