Local Orthodontists Launch Awareness Campaign

The Connection Between Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease, Stroke
Straight teeth are easier to clean, and cleaner teeth can result in less plaque accumulation.

(Issued Fall 2019) — The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year – one in every four deaths – and about 140,000 die each year from stroke. An article in the AARP newsletter listed ‘8 Surprising Things That Increase the Chances of a stroke.’ One of these is bad oral hygiene!

According to Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics, most people are surprised to learn there’s a connection between properly spaced and aligned teeth and heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. To alert the community, ARCH, with 9 offices between Boston and Orleans on Cape Cod, is launching an awareness campaign to alert area residents about connections and remedies.

Dr. Chase, a former President of the Massachusetts Association of Orthodontists, points to numerous studies* showing how long-term exposure to excessive plaque relates to a higher incidence of heart disease and cardiovascular problems. “Obviously, it’s easier to clean your teeth when alignment is even and spacing is correct. You can more easily floss to remove plaque and bacteria. Of course, patients love obtaining a great new smile, but less evident is how Orthodontics can help protect their arteries and heart – and even prolong their life.” About 25% of braces patients are adults.

This is another reason that Dr. Chase, his colleagues, and team are adamantly against Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Orthodontics. He says, “Healthy oral hygiene is a team effort. While most patients who see their general dentist and hygienist regularly may be able to start Orthodontics right away, those who have compromised oral health may need to see a Periodontist prior to starting to ensure the bones and gum tissue are healthy enough to allow for safe tooth movement. Once cleared, safe treatment can continue with regular evaluations with a dental professional. This is critical to the overall health and success of treatment as well as the longevity of results.”

Scientists in Finland analyzed samples of blood clots that had caused strokes and found DNA from oral bacteria in 79 percent of them. A healthy bite and tooth alignment also help improve chewing, which improves digestion. Properly chewed food allows for improved absorption of nutrients because the digestive enzymes improve action on the food as they begin functioning prior to the food reaching the stomach. A good bite can help prevent tooth fractures and TMJ disorder that causes severe jaw pain. “Straighten your teeth, stay healthier, live longer,” says Dr. Chase.

ARCH Orthodontics, now in it’s 46th year, has improved the smiles and lives of over 25,000 patients from 6 to 86. The practice offers free initial consultation and interest-free financing. Courtesy discounts are offered to anyone serving in the military and their families and veterans, and to municipal employees and their families in towns served by the practice. Contact (781) 209-6776 / smilemaker@archorthodontics.com.

– By Stan Hurwitz