The American Stroke Association (ASA) has identified South Carolina as one of 11 states in a region that has more than the average rate of cardiovascular diseases and incidents of stroke, according to an article posted in GoUpstate.com, which was published in time for the annual Minority Health Summit held early this year. The ASA data also showed that the state’s African-American community is more at risk of heart conditions than the Caucasian community, and African-Americans need to do something to manage this risk.
This is where dental consultation comes in. You might wonder what dentists have to do with heart problems. Studies have already established that oral conditions, such as gum disease, if not controlled, could cause cardiovascular disease. Therefore, if you make an effort to go to dentists when your teeth is in danger of further decay, you may be able to stop a stroke or heart disease from happening. One of the solutions dentists recommend is tooth cleaning and scaling.
Tooth Scaling 101
Dental scaling is a procedure designed to chip away at plaque deposits on the teeth, specifically those above and below the gum line. Dentists, such as Dr. Trey Kenna, DMD FAGD of Downtown Dental in Greenville, SC, perform this procedure if a prior teeth assessment shows signs of periodontal disease. The goal is to have the plaque removed before the bacteria in it could go deeper and affect the bloodstream and arteries.
For light plaque concentrations, the dentist uses a small scraping tool to dislodge the plaque. Thicker and harder tartar deposits, however, require ultrasonic devices to strip the tartar away faster.
Plaque not only causes tooth decay, but may also result in a patient’s receding gum line, which will weaken the tooth’s hold on the gums and will make it more likely to be knocked off due to external forces. If this is the case with your tooth, it is important to seek an appointment with an emergency dentist immediately, to have it extracted or to find other ways to close the gap.
A Taiwan-based study released in 2011 showed a further connection between tooth cleaning/scaling and cardiovascular diseases. Tests were conducted on 100,000 people who never had a history of heart ailments. Half never had a tooth scaling and the other half have had a full/partial cleaning. A seven-year monitoring period showed that patients who had tooth cleaning had 13% less odds of suffering a stroke and a 24% lower risk of suffering a heart attack.
In SC, where heart disease and stroke are the 2nd and 3rd causes of death, respectively, tooth cleaning/scaling is an ideal preventive solution. Start the road to improved heart health by visiting your dentist.
Professional dental cleanings may reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, American Heart Association
GHS’ Minority Health Summit to feature Laila Ali, GoUpstate.com