Periodontal Disease on Long Island Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

A recent report from the American Heart Association states no cause and effect relationship between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease is a risk factor for heart disease much like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity are.
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Progression of Long Island Gum disease
Progression of Long Island Gum disease
May 9, 2012 - PRLog -- A scientific statement recently published by the American Heart Association (AHA) concludes that observational studies support an association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, independent of shared risk factors. However, some media reports surrounding the statement’s publication have inaccurately classified the relationship as insignificant and suggested that there is no scientific evidence to support a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

While current research does not yet provide evidence of a causal relationship between the two diseases, scientists have identified certain factors, such as chronic inflammation, that independently link periodontal disease to the development or progression of cardiovascular disease in some patients.

The lack of causal evidence should not diminish concern about the impact of periodontal status on cardiovascular health. According to Long Island Periodontist Dr. David Scharf, “As the AHA statement points out, the association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease is real and independent of shared risk factors. Patients and healthcare providers should not ignore the increased risk of heart disease associated with gum disease just because we do not have all the answers yet.”

Dr. Scharf encourages physicians and dentists to communicate the association between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease on Long Island to patients. “Patients should be aware that by maintaining periodontal health, they are helping to reduce harmful inflammation in the body, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

This video animation shows the progression of gum disease.  The large ulcerated area inside the pocket allows bacteria to enter the blood stream and exert their effect throughout the body.

Patients should expect to receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dentist or periodontist at least once a year, adds Dr. Scharf. This includes a detailed examination of the teeth and gums, and an assessment of risk factors such as smoking, age, and overall health status. In addition, patients diagnosed with periodontal disease should be sure to inform their general health care provider and/or cardiologist to encourage better integration of their care.

In the past many patients would avoid seeing a periodontist on Long Island because that meant gum surgery.  Dr. Scharf is a pioneer in the treatment of gum disease with a laser with a procedure called LANAP.  This FDA approved treatment avoids the scalpels and stitching and pain associated with periodontal surgery.  Treatment is completed in 1 or 2 visits and the return to health and comfort is almost immediate.   This is a video of Dr. Scharf being interviewed on Laser Periodontal therapy.

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