If your doctor has diagnosed you with heart disease, including hardened or clogged arteries, your dentist should be your next stop. Heart disease has been linked to gum disease and sleep apnea. Your dentist offers treatments that can complement those your doctor will perform.
Gum Disease Treatment and Heart Disease
Gum disease can contribute to your risk of heart disease, and as gum disease bacteria contribute to inflammation of the arteries, it can increase your risk of serious consequences. But gum disease treatment by your dentist can help reduce risks. For example, in a clinical trial in Australia, treating gum disease led to a reduction of the thickness of arteries in indigenous people. Researchers said this was the equivalent of a 30% reduction in bad cholesterol, dropping your body mass by 8, or becoming four years younger.
And if that doesn’t convince you to see your dentist, consider this much larger study of nearly 340,000 people with gum disease and other health issues, including heart disease. It showed that treating gum disease could reduce the cost of care for coronary artery disease by 11% and reduce the cost of cerebral vascular disease (stroke) by 41%. Why did it reduce costs? Because it reduced the risk of having to be hospitalized for these conditions by 29% for coronary artery disease and 21% for stroke.
The benefit of a 20% reduction in stroke risk for a visit to the dentist seems like a great tradeoff.
Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
Sleep apnea is bad for your heart, too. When your breathing stops at night, your brain tells your heart to work harder to try to get more oxygen to the brain. This strain damages your heart and leads to increased risk that you’re going to end up in the hospital. Studies show that perhaps as much 78% of people hospitalized for heart failure had undiagnosed sleep apnea. And while many people with heart failure will be back in the hospital within 30 days, those who get their sleep apnea treated can avoid these repeat visits.
A sleep dentist can help you get sleep apnea treatment that is comfortable, convenient, and easy to use.
To learn more about how an Orlando dentist can help you if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, please call (407) 834-6446 for an appointment with Dr. Michael L. Weinstock.