Miami dentist Ted Herrmann often asks patients: Are your gums putting your heart at risk? Not surprisingly, this question is often answered with confused looks and shoulder shrugs. Not many Miami dental professionals are asking their patients this question, despite growing research that points to a serious connection between gum disease and heart disease.
Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:
Holistic dentistry focuses on the ways in which the pieces of our body are connected. From large organ systems to microscopic cells, holistic dentistry uses knowledge of these connections to develop a more complete understanding of both dentistry and overall health. The idea is simple: the better our understanding of the human body, the better we can take care of ourselves and prevent future problems. This leads to a greater degree of patient education, an area where Assure a Smile differs from other Miami dental practices. Our staff is comprised of holistic health professionals who identify patient problems along with their causal factors.
One of the most prevalent conditions among adults is gum disease, or gingivitis. This condition affects an estimated 1 in 2 American adults, often going unnoticed and undiagnosed for many years. This is alarming, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science has recently linked gum disease with heart disease. University of Minnesota Professor Mark Herzberg presented these findings at the 150th meeting of the AAAS as a follow up to several studies conducted throughout the 1990s that suggested a link between the two diseases. “Now we show a potential biological reason,” Professor Helzberg told the Association, referencing a common denominator for the two conditions: bacteria.
In recent studies involving laboratory rabbits, the same bacteria that causes gum disease was shown to also cause inflammation in the arteries of test subjects. In other words, the same bacteria that infects the gums and leads to gingivitis may in time travel the bloodstream and cause swelling in the heart and arteries. This leads to the build up of plaque, swelling, and eventually coronary heart disease.
The question for dentists in Miami, then, is how can this be prevented? Holistic dental professionals know to look at the cause of the problem: bacteria. Children and adults alike must brush and floss regularly to remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gum line to prevent infection. Preventing infection is the primary way to promote sound oral hygiene, as well as significantly decrease the chances of developing heart disease in the future.