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Correlation between heart and mouth health

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Reported by: Brittany Jeffers
Updated: 2/28/2013 10:28 am Published: 2/26/2013 11:04 pm

If you don’t pick up a toothbrush and floss on a regular basis, it might impact your smile and your overall health according to the health professionals.

Dr. Bert Johnson of Bert Johnson D.D.S. in Tulsa tells FOX23 that periodontal research suggests there is a correlation between coronary disease and gum disease.

“People don’t realize how important the health of your teeth is to the rest of your body, specifically your heart.” said Dr. Bert Johnson. Dr. Johnson says studies indicate that 84% of those with coronary heart disease also had periodontal disease.

“If you have gum disease that means that you have the ‘bad bacteria’ and that means that ‘bad bacteria’ is going to go through your mouth and to your heart,” said Dr. Johnson.

One of Dr. Johnson’s patients had to find out first-hand the seriousness of the correlation.

Greg Schueller, one of Dr. Johnson’s patients, had been diagnosed with gum disease and struggled with other teeth ailments for years.

“I had a lot of cavities, a lot of crowns in mouth,” said Schueller.

Schueller told FOX23 he didn’t heed the advice of his dentist and take a proactive approach to his oral hygiene; primarily flossing.

“I just didn’t do it because I didn’t see the importance,” said Schueller.

It wasn’t until his health hit a major snag that he decided to listen to his dentists recommendations. Cardiologists discovered Schueller had coronary artery disease and he had to undergo five way bypass surgery.

“You don’t develop coronary artery disease overnight, I think my poor oral health contributed to my bypass surgery six years ago,” said Schueller.

Since the health scare, Schueller says he flosses his teeth every day and is living by the mantra, ‘Healthy gums, healthy heart.’

Dr. Johnson says that is critical to maintain a daily oral hygiene regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 2/27/2013 1:23 PM
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Here’s a statement put out by the American Heart Assn.: “Keeping teeth and gums healthy is important for your overall health,” the heart association’s statement begins. “However, an American Heart Association expert committee -- made up of cardiologists, dentists and infectious diseases specialists -- found no conclusive scientific evidence that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes or increases the rates of cardiovascular diseases. Current data don't indicate whether regular brushing and flossing or treatment of gum disease can cut the incidence of atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes.”
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