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September 2008 Issue

Healthy Gums May Mean a Healthy Heart: What You Need to Know

Periodontal disease causes inflammation in your gums, and experts now believe the more inflammation in your body, the greater your risk for clogged arteries, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. For some people with existing heart conditions like damaged heart valves, dentists used to prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacteria in the mouth from getting into the bloodstream during invasive dental procedures, such as tooth extractions and intensive gum cleaning. The worry was that it could cause a fairly rare infection of the lining of the heart called infective endocarditis. But the evidence now suggests otherwise.

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