If you are already suffering from heart disease, then you may want to keep a close eye on your teeth as well. It may sound strange, but researchers have discovered that periodontitis (inflammation or infection of the gums, a.k.a. gingivitis) can increase the risk of heart attack in certain individuals. This oral condition is blamed for making heart medication useless, so sufferers can’t get the treatment they need.
In a study from the University of Helsinki, researchers found two things. First, they found that giving long-term antibiotic treatment was effective at decreasing the risk of cardiovascular events in patients who were not suffering from periodontal disease.
Second, unfortunately, the doctors also found that antibiotics were not effective enough at preventing heart attacks in patients who did suffer from periodontitis. Even with antibiotic treatment, these patients still had a 26% higher risk of suffering a future heart attack than those patients who didn’t suffer from the gum disease did.
The researchers suggest that certain patients suffering from heart disease should take long-term antibiotics in order to prevent heart attacks. However, when periodontitis occurs, the body’s defenses are lowered and the antibiotics are no longer enough to protect the damaged heart.
Since periodontitis is a chronic condition, it can slowly lower the body’s defenses over a long period of time. Ignoring your oral health could put you at risk of suffering more cardiovascular events. That’s why it is important to see your dentist and doctor regularly if you have a heart condition.
Also, it’s very important that you maintain good oral health and book regular dental appointments even if you have lost all your teeth. In fact, the research shows that half of the people who have lost all their teeth may suffer from another cardiovascular event. This is more people than those who have confirmed periodontitis and who also have their teeth.
Talk to your dentist or doctor about how you keep your teeth healthy and your heart at its best.