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Heart Health Awareness

20 years of supporting heart health and your health

For decades, researchers have probed the link between gum disease and cardiovascular health. Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film dentists refer to as plaque builds up around teeth. A completely different type of plaque — made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in blood — can build up inside arteries. Known as atherosclerosis, this fatty plaque is the hallmark of coronary artery disease.

People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.  Many people with heart disease have healthy gums, and not everyone with gum disease develops heart problems. Shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association. Still there's a growing suspicion that gum disease may be an independent risk factor for heart disease. Talk to your doctor and get regular dental examinations and cleanings to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and smiling!

Author
Kari L. Sakurai , D.D.S. Dr. Sakurai is on staff at UCLA Medical Center, St. John's Health, SM-UCLA Orthopedic Hospital, and at LAC+USC as Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Dentistry. With over 25 years of clinical experience and teaching at cutting edge, Universities helps us deliver the evidence-based technology care to our patients.

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