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  • What do heart attacks and gum disease have in common?

What do heart attacks and gum disease have in common?

By Dr. Declan Devereux

Evidence has been building for several years that painless inflammation can cause heart trouble and may even be more dangerous than high cholesterol. This recent quote from the New England Journal of Medicine tells the story of what is becoming the best thinking on the cause of heart disease. The question is where is the inflammation coming from? There are different reasons for inflammation to occur in our bodies and they are not all bad.

The inflammation that occurs after a strenuous bout of exercise is an example of beneficial inflammation (although it may not feel that way at the time). This type of inflammation increases circulation and heat to the sore muscles and actually speeds up the healing process. Inflammation also occurs as a part of an acute infection. An acute infection causes a series of events to occur in the body, one of which is for your liver to increase its production of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a chemical necessary for fighting injury and infection and with severe infections, blood levels of CRP can reach 500 to 1,000 times normal levels. CRP is the bodies acute phase response protein which binds to invading microorganisms allowing your immune system to kill them BUT when this acute phase response is CHRONICALLY elevated, a number of bad side affects start to occur.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, strokes, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and diabetes. One of the most frequently overlooked sources of chronic inflammation along with elevated CRP levels, and also one of the easiest to treat, can be found in peoples mouths. Gum disease is a form of chronic inflammation that is so common that many people think it is normal for their gums to bleed when they brush or floss.

BLEEDING GUMS are the tell tale sign of chronic inflammation in the mouth and the research is now showing that CRP levels are elevated in people with gum disease. We can no longer continue to think that oral health plays a small role in overall health. The really great news is that treating gum disease is a simple process due to recent advances in technology and an understanding of the proper protocols. So if you suspect that you or someone you care about may have gum disease, give us a call to discuss how we can help.


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