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Healthy Smiles, Healthy Hearts

The American Heart Association has launched a “Healthy Smiles, Healthy Hearts” initiative to help create and implement a new standard of care for heart health screenings at dental visits. This new initiative aims to educate health care professionals and patients on the links between heart health and oral health. 

“Oral health care professionals can play a pivotal role as part of a whole-body care team to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Joseph C. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA, American Heart Association volunteer president. 

Daniel W. Croley, DMD, Chief Dental Officer for Delta Dental said, “Oral diseases can significantly impact systemic health, and preventative oral care routines are critical to reducing associated health risks, including cardiovascular conditions.”

 A patient’s oral hearth can be an important indicator of overall health and well-being, and research has shown that chronic gum inflammation may be linked to coronary artery disease and diabetes. Additionally, certain types of bacteria which live in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body such as the heart and lungs, causing issues such as infective endocarditis. Improving dental health conditions can result in significantly better health outcomes overall. “Dentists can be an important resource to counsel and screen patients for many chronic diseases, including hypertension and oral cancer, creating a valuable opportunity to drive prevention and earlier detection in the oral health setting.”


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