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The exact relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health may still need further exploration, but patients should be aware that the two are connected, a dental professor has said.
Dr Gary Bouloux of Emory University told CNN.com that when he performs a dental care procedure such as removing gum disease-affected teeth, he feels he is benefiting the patient's heart health as well.
After performing this type of surgery, he explained how "we reduced the number of inflamed and infected sites in her mouth, which may reduce her overall inflammatory burden and thus reduce her risk for cardiovascular disease."
The dental health and medical health communities are still debating the precise link between gum disease and heart disease. At this point, they agree that C-reactive protein may play a role.
However, Emory University cardiologist Dr Arshed Quyyumi explained that it is still unclear whether this protein is a direct risk factor or an indicator of cardiovascular disease.
A longer-term study following tens of thousands of patients could help determine how dental care impacts the heart, he added.
In the meantime, the American Dental Association suggests that people focus on practicing proper dental hygiene, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
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