Is your dentist putting you at risk for heart attack and stroke?

February 1, 2011
Volume 08    |   Issue 06

A tooth extraction or root canal may be just what you need to treat a dental infection. But unless you take precautions, any kind of invasive dental surgery can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

British researchers found that your risk for a vascular event is highest one month following dental surgery. That risk gradually decreases after six months. So it’s important to take preventive steps after any dental surgery — and be vigilant for months.

The researchers believe that inflammation is the culprit. They say it begins when bacteria from an infection leaks into the tissues around the tooth. If this bacterium builds up in blood vessels, it can increase inflammation and lead to a heart attack or stroke. At the end of six months, the risk subsides.

This association with heart disease and stroke doesn’t mean you should not have oral surgery. Periodontal treatments can lower your risk for heart disease in the long run. But you want a dentist who knows how to prevent inflammation. If your dentist practices conventional dentistry, your short-term risk could be high.

Some people believe that the only safe root canal is extraction and that all root canals cause problems. I disagree. An integrative dentist who uses ozone can reduce harmful bacteria and sometimes even eliminate the need for a root canal or extraction. He or she also can teach you how to maximize your daily dental program after surgery to reduce inflammation.

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Begin by limiting all sugars and brush your teeth frequently. Open a capsule of a strong probiotic and spread it around in your mouth before going to bed at night. Don’t rinse. This increases the friendly bacteria that fight harmful oral bacteria.

Most importantly, look for a dentist who is familiar with and who uses ozone therapies before, during, and after surgery. It could save your life.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


"Invasive Dental Treatment and Risk for Vascular Events - A Self-Controlled Case Series", Caroline Minassian, MSc; Francesco D'Aiuto, PhD; Aroon D. Hingorani, PhD; and Liam Smeeth, PhD, Annals of Internal Medicine. October 19, 2010 vol. 153 no. 8 499-506.

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