US dentist’s study links oral and heart health

A US dentist is the latest voice among dental and heart experts to say that patients with heart disease are more likely to suffer from gum disease and tooth loss.

Periodontist Dr. David Goteiner had his study published in the Journal of Periodontology.

He spent almost a decade researching the effects of oral health for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he teaches part-time.

‘The mouth is probably one of the most abused organs – it is constantly used with little thought to what is going inside it,’ Goteiner said.

‘It may be a harbinger for what goes on in the rest of your body.’

Goteiner’s study included 137 patients who were brought to New Jersey’s Morristown Memorial Hospital’s emergency department for heart attacks or angina.

These patients were then admitted to the hospital and treated in its cardiac care unit.

They were compared with another 37 patients who were discharged from the hospital’s emergency department with a diagnosis of chest pain and another group of 101 who entered the hospital for elective procedures.

The study found that the patients with acute coronary syndrome and angina were more likely to have poorer oral care, fewer teeth, and bone loss or loss of support as a result of periodontitis or gum disease.

‘Poor dental care, or a lack of it, may be associated with a cardiac event,’ Goteiner said.

‘It is my hope that the results of this study will not only convince people to regularly visit their dentists, but will also provide physicians with another tool to detect heart disease early so patients can quickly receive treatment.’

Dan Meyer, senior vice president of science and professional affairs for the American Dental Association (ASA), said that, ‘This study is an indication that relationships between oral health and general health do exist – the extent of those relationships, however, need to be looked at further. It is imperative people take oral hygiene seriously.’

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