It's the first direct link between oral health and heart disease
It's been known for some time there is a link, but for the first time it's been proven.
Dr. Amy Doneen is from Spokane, where she runs the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center.
She says if you have gum disease or bleeding gums, it doesn't necessarily mean you have the bacteria in the mouth that can lead to heart disease.
But, if someone does has heart disease, she wants to know, whether periodontal issues contributed.
She says you can ask your dentist for a DNA test of your saliva that can detect if you have the bacteria, or pathogens in your mouth that can lead to heart issues.
This is groundbreaking and many dentists don't yet test for the bacteria. But you can ask for the test.
Listen to our complete interview below.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Millions of Americans have a dental disorder that can lead to heart attacks and strokes, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ).
The researchers discovered that bacteria responsible for many cases of periodontal (gum) disease (PD) can also be a contributing cause of cardiovascular disease, the leading killer of Americans.
The landmark study builds on earlier research, including a scientific statement from the American Heart Association, showing with level A evidence an independent association between PD--an oral infection affecting the majority of U.S. adults over age 30--and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is also called heart disease.
"There is a key difference between a condition being associated with another disease versus being causal," says study author Amy Doneen, DNP, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington and co-founder of the Bale Doneen Method of heart attack, stroke and diabetes prevention, practiced by hundreds of clinicians globally.
"Optimal treatment of an associated condition may have no impact on the end disease, while such management of a causal condition for CVD could be potentially lifesaving, by helping prevent heart attacks and strokes," adds Dr. Doneen.
"By identifying which oral bacteria contribute to CVD, our study could change how PD is diagnosed and managed," says Bradley Bale, MD, medical director of the Heart Health Program for Grace Clinic in Lubbock, Texas and co-founder of the Bale Doneen Method.
"Instead of only evaluating the severity of periodontal symptoms--such as how much the gums bleed, how loose the teeth are, and the depth of infected pockets, dental providers could use available tests to see if the patients with gum disease have the high-risk bacteria our research has identified as causal of CVD," continues Dr. Bale.
While there is no treatment proven to be 100% effective in eradicating these high-risk bacteria, therapies for gum disease include deep cleaning, prescription mouthwashes, antibiotics, laser therapy, dental trays with antibacterial gel, and a daily program of oral care to follow at home.
Study authors Dr. Bale, Dr. Doneen and David Vigerust, PhD hope their discovery will spur randomized clinical trials to determine the most effective ways to treat PD due to high-risk bacteria and the impact of such management on heart attack and stroke risk. The PMJ study is online at http://pmj.bmj.com/content/93/1098/215.
About the Bale Doneen Method: The Bale Doneen Method (BDM) offers a comprehensive, scientific approach to detecting, preventing and treating CVD, shown in two peer-reviewed studies to halt or reverse the disease and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Unlike standard care, which checks patients for certain CVD risk factors, the BDM also uses advanced lab tests and imaging to directly check for hidden signs of arterial disease. For more information, visit baledoneen.com