Newswise — Dental Secrets to Keeping Heart Healthy on Valentine's Day and Beyond

Many undiagnosed chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, can present in the mouth in the form of gum disease making the gums an important window into our overall health.

Gum disease, which can be broken down into gingivitis and periodontitis, is an inflammatory disease of the gums due to a buildup of dental plaque. Within the United States, approximately 47% of adults 30 years and older have been diagnosed with a form of periodontitis. However, this percentage is an underestimation, because many cases are undiagnosed.

With those devastating statistics - and with February being American Heart Month - it is an increasingly important time to raise awareness about how proper oral health care can have an added benefit: a healthier heart. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death among men and women in the United States and is caused by the formation of arterial plaques which leads to narrowing of blood vessels. Patients with cardiovascular disease are at a high risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke due to the narrowing of these vessels. Risk factors of developing cardiovascular disease include smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. In addition to these risks, patients with moderate to severe periodontitis have been shown to be at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well.  A study showed that men younger than 50 years with periodontal disease may be 72% more likely to get cardiovascular disease (DeStefano, 1993).

Kristen Brocavich, DDS and Srinivas R. Myneni, DDS, PhD from the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine are available for media interviews and can share some healthy tips to have healthy gums, therefore a healthy heart. If needed, Stony Brook University has access to a ReadyCam television studio system that provides remote access to television networks.

About Srinivas Myneni, DDS, PhD

Srinivas Myneni, DDS, MS, PhD, serves as Assistant Professor and Director of Periodontal Research within the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine (SDM). Dr. Myneni, the recipient of the American Academy of Periodontology Teaching Fellowship (2017), maintains his research focus in periodontal immunology, host modulation, and tissue engineering and regeneration. Board certified in periodontology and implant dentistry, Dr. Myneni practices at Stony Brook Dental Associates housed within SDM. He received his DDS at Rajiv University of Health Sciences in Banglore, India, and his Master of Science in Oral Sciences, PhD in Oral Biology, and certificate in periodontology at the University of Buffalo.

About Kristen Brocavich, DDS

Kristen Brocavich, DDS, is a resident in the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s Advanced Specialty Education Program in Periodontics. Dr. Brocavich graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University as a Bachelor of Science in Toxicology. She earned her DDS from Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine in 2017.