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Debating what to make of link between gum disease, heart health

from St. Petersburg Times via The Seattle Times

If you've been putting off that visit to the dentist, figuring if you don't have a toothache there's nothing to worry about, think again. In addition to watching out for your teeth and gums, dentists also look for oral cancers and other health conditions that may announce themselves in your mouth. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests there is a link between dental health and heart disease. That's one reason why your dentist may prescribe aggressive treatment for gum disease, or even send you to the cardiologist. St. Petersburg, Fla., dentist John Ferullo is among those who think the link is strong enough to warrant screening some patients with gum disease for a blood protein called CRP. High levels of C-reactive protein are associated with increased heart attack and stroke risk, although exactly how they're linked isn't fully understood. more


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