There is a proven link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.
Another possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque build up, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries. Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Dr. Roos will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.
Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.
HPV and Oral Health
There has been a dramatic increase in oral cancers seen in young people who were previously a population where oral cancers rarely occurred. This is in part a result of the HVP’s being transmitted from oral sexual practices. HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted virus - and one of the most dangerous, as it exists in its hosts without symptoms for years, and many strains of HPV progress into full-blown cancers of the cervix, mouth, anus, vagina, and penis.
Your dentist should always do a thorough oral cancer-screening exam of your mouth at every visit. This exam includes looking at the tongue, the tissue beneath the tongue, the inner cheeks, lips and the lymph nodes beneath the neck. It used to be thought that only older people who were heavy drinkers and smokers were at risk for oral cancers. Oral cancer is now being seen in much younger people because of HPV.