Fairport, Pittsford and Rochester, NY
In 2008 NBC News’s Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press died after suffering a heart attack at age 58. Although he had been diagnosed with heart disease and was receiving treatment, his doctors had estimated his risk of a heart attack in the next ten years at only 5% using a widely used risk calculator. What got missed? How could this have happened when you would think he had access to the best healthcare available?
For many years, I have been a leading proponent of the importance of diagnosing and treating oral infections as a risk factor for heart disease and other significant health conditions. Researchers continue to identify the connection between oral health and overall health. I believe your mouth can give us the inside story to your overall health. What goes on in your mouth can affect what happens in your body. That is why we take a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to your oral and total health.
For example, I am a fan of a book called Beat the Heart Attack Gene by Bradley Bale, MD, and Amy Doneen, ARNP. This book is a valuable repository of useful information on heart disease and the underlying issues that many experts miss. One of the key questions the book asks is whether the patient has bleeding gums. I will offer additional thoughts on this groundbreaking book in subsequent posts.
I know we’ve all heard dentists preach the importance of flossing, but many patients still don’t perform this simple homecare task regularly. Gum disease or periodontitis is a serious problem. Any infection of the gums that allows oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream can contribute to serious health problems, including heart disease.
Have you ever wondered why we ask so many questions at each appointment? It’s because in my practice we focus heavily on risk factors that studies have shown can contribute to heart disease, stroke and many other conditions. It’s not because we’re trying to prolong your time in our office. Rather, our goal is to make sure we’ve assessed each patient’s risk factors properly and provided treatment recommendations that might have prevented what happened to Tim Russert from happening to you or someone you love.