Link between oral health and heart disease

File photo

Two years ago while Dr. Thomas E. Levy was looking at the dental x-rays of a family friend he noticed one tooth with a huge abscess that must be causing her extreme pain.

She said there was no pain.

That raised a red flag and led Dr. Levy, a cardiologist and lawyer, to the research which resulted in a book about the silent oral infections that cause heart attacks and breast cancers.

He said real danger begins when pathogens from infected teeth get into the blood stream. But patients aren’t aware their teeth are infected.

“I saw that the incidence of asymptomatic silently infected teeth in the worldwide adult population was somewhere between seven and 12 percent, which is an enormous number of teeth,” said Levy. “And when you consider the fact that infection is the most significant source of oxidative stress, which provokes and causes all known diseases, the correlation is not that hard to make.”

He said such pathogens were present 90 percent of the time in blood clots that caused heart attacks.

He said the best way to detect these silent infections in teeth is with a specialized x-ray known as “3-D cone beam imaging.”

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