A new study has found that people who receive care for their teeth and gums are more likely to survive a heart attack.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at data from more than 11,000 people who had a heart attack between 2006 and 2010. The researchers found that those who had visited a dentist or other dental health care provider in the year before their heart attack were more likely to survive than those who had not.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Mohammad Madjid, said that the findings add to the growing body of evidence linking oral health to overall health. “This study suggests that improving periodontal health may be one way to reduce the risk of death from heart attacks,” Madjid said.
The study’s authors cautioned that the findings should not be taken as proof that periodontal care can prevent heart attacks. However, they said that the findings do suggest that people who have good oral health are more likely to have better overall health.
Dr. Perry dedicated his life to saving teeth. Now, a new study suggests that his insights into the connection between gum disease and systemic health may have had even wider implications than anyone ever imagined.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that people who had received periodontal care before their heart attack were significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital or to die within a year of their discharge, compared to those who had not received any dental care.
“This is the first study to show that receiving care for periodontal disease may improve long-term outcomes for patients who have suffered a heart attack,” said Dr. Perry’s widow, Mary Perry. “It’s a testament to his legacy as a leader in dental research.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. Steven N. Blair, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the findings suggest that people with periodontal disease may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
“This study provides more evidence that treating gum disease may have important benefits for heart health,” Dr. Blair said.
The study looked at data from more than 13,000 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994. The participants were followed for an average of 10 years.
During that time, 1,062 of the participants had a heart attack. Of those, 914 were hospitalized and 155 died.
The researchers found that those who had visited a dentist in the two years before their heart attack were 24 percent less likely to be readmitted to the hospital and 39 percent less likely to die within a year, compared to those who had not been to the dentist.
“This study provides more evidence of a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. W.H. Perry III, a professor of periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a co-author of the study. “It also underscores the importance of good oral health care.”
The findings add to a growing body of evidence linking periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems.
“The mouth is a window into the body,” said Dr. Mary Perry. “What happens in the mouth can affect the entire body.”