“You have periodontal (gum) disease.”  These 4 words initially scare or confuse many people when they hear them from their hygienist or dentist.  There are many questions that might run through your mind after hearing this.  “What does this mean?”  “How is this going to affect me?”  “Am I going to loose any or all of my teeth?”  “Is gum disease something I really need to worry about?”  Gum disease is estimated to affect about 8 out of every 10 Americans with 99% of those with gum disease having no signs or symptoms that let them know they have a problem.

For most people, gum disease is something that they believe is nothing to be concerned about and they dismiss the diagnosis.  “It’s not like hearing I have heart disease, right?”  This is where what you don’t know might surprise you.  Your mouth is a window to your body.  More than 90% of all systemic diseases have signs that we can see in the mouth! Recently, studies have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease.  Many people do not realize that risk factors associated with serious health concerns such as heart disease and stroke have been associated with gum disease.  Each year, heart disease kills more Americans than cancer and when we hear this diagnosis we take it very seriously and follow through with the physician’s recommendations to lower our risks and manage the disease.


Most people are aware that lifestyle choices such as eating right, getting enough exercise and quitting smoking can help prevent heart disease.  What most people don’t know is that you have 2 very powerful, easy to use weapons at your disposal to help combat your risk of heart disease – your toothbrush and your dental team!  It is important to understand that simple activities like brushing and flossing twice a day, and regular visits to your dental professional can help lower your risk of gum disease and, in turn, other health conditions, including heart disease and stroke.

In 2009, the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology published recommendations for dentists and cardiologist that focus on the importance of working together to manage these 2 diseases because they are linked.  These recommendations are:


1.      patients with gum disease should be made aware that they ARE at increased risk for heart disease

2.      patients with gum disease and 1 major risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, family history of heart disease, or high cholesterol, should see there doctor if they haven’t done so in the past 12 months.

3.      patients with gum disease who have 2 or more known major risk factors for heart disease should be referred to see their physician for a medical evaluation.

At our practice, total wellness is our goal.  Along with our highly skilled dental team, we are pleased to offer specialized technology that will assess your individual risks of gum disease with easy to understand Oral Health Scores. Your individual Oral Health Scores are just like your cholesterol scores.  These Oral Health Scores, combined with your clinical examination, will allow us to make the best recommendations for you specifically.  Do you know your Oral Health Scores?  If not, now is the time to find out!  With proper treatment we can improve your Oral Health Scores just like your physician can improve your cholesterol score.


We are always welcoming new patients into our practice family!  Call us today to reserve your time with us!


About HPS Advanced Dental Care, PC

Dr. Heather Pranzarone Stratton is a Family and Cosmetic Dentist practicing with a Biological and Biocompatible philosophy in Shelby Township, Michigan. Our practice provides a full range of Family and Cosmetic Dentistry services for your entire family including, professional cleanings and oral cancer screenings, tooth restoration, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, root canal therapy, tooth whitening, and dentures.  We are a mercury free and mercury safe dental practice and latex free practice.  HPS Advanced Dental Care, PC easily serves Macomb and Oakland Counties.  We are easily accessible from many metro Detroit cities including: Shelby Township, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Macomb Township, Oakland Township, Washington, Birmingham, Troy, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, and many more.