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Your Oral Health and Heart Disease

There has been much information in the news recently about the possible link between dental health and heart disease. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. Some studies strongly suggest that there may also be a link between chronic inflammatory periodontal infections and certain systemic diseases. These include:

  • Various forms of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory disorders

As we continue to learn more about how periodontal infections may be linked to our overall health, having detailed information about our genetic susceptibility and the bacteria that are present in our mouths may prove to be very useful in determining how we structure our individual oral health care plan.

Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing periodontal disease. This predisposition can be identified through Oral DNA testing. Oral DNA testing can be specific in identifying the various types of bacteria present in our mouths. If certain dangerous and destructive bacteria are present, specific antibiotic therapies to target and destroy these bacteria can be administered.

Since each patient and each periodontal infection is different, with the Oral DNA test we know exactly which antibiotics are needed to be prescribed for each patient. When combined with laser or conventional gum treatment, targeted antibiotics can lead to higher success rates.

Oral DNA testing can also serve as a non-invasive, easy-to-use screening tool to identify the oral Human papillomavirus (HPV), a mucosal viral infection that could potentially lead to oral cancer. HPV is one of the most common virus groups in the world. In the United States alone over 6 million people are infected each year according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Diagnostic tests are provided by a company called OralDNA® Labs. These tests only take a few seconds and can be collected from the patient during a routine dental examination. The sample is then shipped off to the lab for analysis.

OralDNA® Labs offers three non-invasive salivary diagnostic tests, all of which are quickly and easily administered at chair side:

  • MyPerioPath® Salivary DNA test that determines the cause of periodontal infections
  • MyPerioID® PST® Salivary DNA test that determines increased risk for severe periodontal infections
  • OraRisk® HPV Salivary DNA test that determines who is at increased risk for HPV-related oral cancers

Listed below are some of the reasons to consider using Oral DNA testing:

Are you a smoker?

Do you have persistent bad breath?

Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss?

Have you lost teeth or are your teeth loose?

Is there a family history of heart disease?

Do you or a family member have diabetes?

Do you have a compromised immune system?

Your dentist will recommend one or more of these tests if he or she feels a more detailed assessment is warranted.