Don’t Let Your Mouth Pollute Your Clean Heart

Levels of Bacteria in Plaque Beneath the Gum Line May Increase Risk for Heart Attacks

CHICAGO (American Academy of Periodontology) -Researchers have found evidence that the amount of bacteria in subgingival plaques, the deep plaques in periodontal pockets and around the teeth, may contribute to an individual’s risk of a heart attack, according to two studies appearing in the Journal of Periodontology. These studies further researchers’ understanding that periodontal bacteria may increase the risk for heart disease.

In one study researchers looked at 150 individuals with periodontal diseases and found that the total number of periodontal bacteria in subgingival plaques was higher in individuals that have suffered from an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The second study found that the same DNA from different kinds of periodontal bacteria in plaque was also in the patients’ heart arteries. Researchers believe that these findings may help substantiate what they have long known; if there is a sterile pathway, such as a bloodstream, near a periodontally infected area that the bacteria from this infected area cause inflammation in the gums that opens up pores in the surrounding blood vessels, which enables the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body and cause great harm.

“It is like setting up a garbage dump on the edge of a river. You wouldn’t be surprised if the lake downstream ended up polluted with the garbage from the dump,” said Vincent J Iacono, DMD and president of the American Academy of Periodontology. “A patient’s bloodstream acts very much like the river in this analogy, in that it carries the bacteria from the periodontal plaques, possibly ‘polluting’ the arteries of the heart with periodontal bacteria, causing inflammation of the arteries which may lead to a heart attack. This potential effect of periodontal bacteria further supports the need for periodic deep cleanings to enhance overall health and wellbeing.”

These studies represent two in a large body of research that investigates the possible link between periodontal diseases and other systemic conditions such as heart disease. “Intervention data is not available to prove a causal relationship between the two. Right now we are currently advising patients that maintaining good periodontal health can only help not hurt,” said Iacono.

Referral to a periodontist in your area and free brochure samples including one titled Ask your Periodontist about Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease are available by calling 800-FLOSS-EM or visiting the AAP’s Web site at

The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

Dental Center Takes a 900-Mile Detour for Disaster Relief

American Dental Association and Henry Schein Send ‘Tomorrow’s Dental Office – Today!’ to Help Mississippi Gulf Coast Residents;

State-of-the-Art Dental Treatment Center Takes a 900-Mile Detour for Disaster Relief

Answering the request of the Mississippi Department of Health, the American Dental Association (ADA) and Henry Schein Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), a distributor of healthcare products and services to office-based practitioners in the combined North American and European markets, dispatched “Tomorrow’s Dental Office – Today!” (TDOT) to Waveland, Mississippi to help treat Gulf Coast residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The mobile exhibit, which is a fully-functional, technology-driven dental office of the future, traveled to this devastated town of 7,100 and was set up at the Kmart that became Waveland’s new community hub.

“All of us within the dental community are proud to work together with the Mississippi Department of Health to help care for the state’s citizens in this time of need,” said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman and CEO of Henry Schein. “‘Tomorrow’s Dental Office – Today!’ is a remarkable dental resource that incorporates state-of-the-art technology in every aspect of a dental practice. It has been used in community outreach before, typically in conjunction with major dental meetings where we can demonstrate to dentists the value of this technology to their practices. In these extraordinary circumstances, we are happy to see the capabilities of TDOT put to such worthwhile use.”

“As you can imagine, a facility of this type is in high demand,” said Dr. James Bramson, Executive Director of the ADA. “It was scheduled to leave from the Ohio Dental Association Annual Session in Columbus for the ADA’s Annual Session in Philadelphia, when the call came from Mississippi.

“We conferred with Henry Schein and together instructed the TDOT staff to make a 900-mile detour to the Gulf Coast to arrive as soon as possible,” continued Dr. Bramson. “Our members would agree that Waveland and other affected communities are where dental resources are most needed at this time.”

After Hurricane Katrina hit the area on August 29, Henry Schein and the ADA immediately offered to send resources to the affected states. Because the Mississippi Department of Health was the first to follow up on that offer, Waveland was selected as the destination for TDOT. It is supplementing ongoing relief efforts at Caroline 1, the North Carolina State Medical Assistance Team base in Waveland, under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Mosca, State Dental Director of the Mississippi Department of Health. Dr. Mosca had dental practitioners in place screening and prioritizing patients for care in anticipation of TDOT’s arrival.

“We are extremely grateful to the ADA and Henry Schein for providing this remarkable resource to the people of Mississippi and the hard-hit community of Waveland,” said Dr. Mosca. “Caroline 1 is now seeing more than 300 critical care and emergency patients each day, and many of them are in urgent need of dental care. The TDOT facility will enable our dental teams to provide patients with the highest quality of care even though most of the town’s infrastructure has been erased.”

Henry Schein is supporting the “Tomorrow’s Dental Office – Today!” program through its U.S Dental division, Sullivan-Schein, and its Dentrix Dental Systems division. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive.