Your Dentist Might Stop Your Next Heart Attack


Reprint of an article by Ken Kowalsky from the Article Codex website,


Introduction by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert




A growing body of evidence points to gum disease and other dental dilemmas as prime indicators of potential heart problems. Taking steps to protect our gums and teeth, as well as to correct gum and dental problems, might help prevent heart attacks and other cardio catastrophes. The article below by Ken Kowalsky discusses this gum-heart link. --Don Rose



As the Webmaster for a site dedicated to helping people save money when they go to the dentist, I find myself having to consistently fight two different and distinct battles: one against the average American’s reluctance to pay the high cost of modern dental care and the other is the same American’s belief that seeing a dentist regularly just isn't that important.

The first battle I have a decent chance of winning but the second battle I've had to throw my hands up in surrender; I mean if someone doesn't care about their teeth enough to have them taken care of by a dentist, what can I possibly say to convince them otherwise?

How about this: "Did you know that your next visit to the dentist could prevent a heart attack?"

Medical researchers have known for years now that there's a definite link between gum disease (i.e. gingivitis) and persons' risk for heart disease (see Evidence is mounting, however, that information gleaned from a routine panoramic dental X-ray’s wide-angle frontal images -- taken to establish the baseline condition of teeth and surrounding bone -- may serve as an accurate early-warning system of risk of dying from heart attack or stroke.

According to researchers at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, a study of 818 teeth and jaw x-rays of Pima Indians in Arizona found that those who had a build-up of calcified plaque in the carotid arteries were twice as likely to die from heart attack or stroke. Normally, calcified plaque is present in only about 3 percent of the general population.

An earlier study of 2,700 dental patients showed calcium deposits on each side of the carotid arteries can be spotted in x-rays of the teeth and jaw bone.

It makes sense that the dental x-rays would see the carotid artery --which carries blood from the heart to the brain and back-- so dentists should be aware that it is screening tool for cardiovascular disease. If they see signs of calcification in dental x-rays, they tell the patient to see his or her doctor ASAP.

BOTTOM LINE: Most dental insurance plans allow you a yearly dental exam at little or no cost so schedule a complete check-up, including x-rays, with your dentist ASAP. If you don't have dental insurance, consider enrolling in a discount dental plan that fits your budget and then go see a dentist ASAP.

Kenneth Kowalsky is the webmaster of, a web site devoted to helping people save money on dental care, including advice on choosing the best dental plan for you, inexpensive tips on easing toothache pain, little-known ways to lower your dentist bills, etc. You can contact him via e-mail at or via this toll-free number 1-877-534-4808.


The article above is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.


Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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