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Researchers Examine Link Between Dental and Heart Health

Tuesday, September 17, 2019/ Editor -  

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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s ‘Know Your Heart’ Campaign Examines Wide Range of Cardiovascular Challenges 


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. September 17, 2019:  Poor oral health has been considered to be a possible cause of heart disease for more than a century, but the issue is still being examined in the run-up to World Heart Day on September 29. 

Over the years, studies have connected gum disease to an increased risk of developing heart disease, since poor oral health increases the risk of bacterial infection in the blood stream which can affect the heart values, especially artificial heart valves. 

However, additional research is needed to fully understand the possible connection between oral health and heart disease since there is no scientifically proven evidence even after one hundred years.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is conducting a month-long campaign in September, called ‘Know Your Heart’, which aims to encourage people to consider all aspects of a heart-healthy lifestyle. 

Dr. Gurjyot Bajwa, Staff Physician in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said: “In December 2017, we conducted a complex surgery on a young Egyptian patient who had had a tooth infection and had developed acute infective endocarditis following tooth extraction. The potentially deadly infection had spread throughout his body, damaging all four heart valves, which needed to be replaced.”

Whether oral health is proven to be a risk factor in heart disease or not, it is important to take good care of teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing and scheduled dental check-ups. Additional studies have shown that tooth loss patterns can be associated with coronary artery disease, and there appears to be a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including evidence that patients with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment. 

Dr. Marwan Atrouni, Dentist in the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, supports this view mentioning: “Certain dental problems may increase the risk of heart conditions developing. This includes dental abscesses, which may lead to harmful bacteria entering the bloodstream, causing endocarditis, and damaging the heart, and periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums which may put undue pressure on the immune system and lead to disease in vulnerable patients.” 

He pointed out: “Patients who are scheduled for heart surgery routinely undergo dental examinations as part of the preparations for their procedure, as a precautionary measure.”

Recent studies indicate that there does seem to be some relationship but that the connection is between inflammation in general and how the body reacts to it. However, without conclusive scientific proof of the link between oral and cardiac health, the conclusion is that overall wellness and preventative measures including a healthy diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking are positive ways to eliminate many risk factors for heart disease. 

People who want to know more about the risks of heart disease and the steps they can take to reduce them can visit knowyourheart.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae.

 


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