A while back I wrote on what I was doing to avoid another coronary artery bypass operation. The strategies I used were not enough it seems. Two of my grafts closed off after 13 years and in February I wound up on the Cath-lab table. One graft was stented while the other was abandoned and the artery it was bypassing was stented open.
For the last many years I had refused statin therapy because I thought that the prevention statistics were unconvincing, and that the primary cause is not high cholesterol but rather inflammation. I take therapeutic doses of many anti-inflammatory supplements, and I figured I had the situation controlled. When I began to feel symptoms during workouts I increased my pomegranate extract to 2000 mg/day and took nitric oxide boosters several times a day. This failed to head off the closing down of the grafts, but I will stick with those supplements because many studies show that they indeed work to de-plaque arteries.
The key factor preceding both my original bypass and this latest event was a serious battle with periodontal disease, both which required gum surgery to stop the progression. I’m convinced that gum disease was the primary initiating cause of my heart disease. My heart itself is strong, and I had no heart attacks or heart damage from either occurrence. I am back to the gym, nearing full strength again, with full exercise tolerance. Still the issue remains – how to avoid this again. This time I’m on Plavix, aspirin and Lipitor, for at least a year, and once again looking for the real cause and cure.
Here is a link to a definitive article on the association between periodontal disease and coronary artery disease worth reading: http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/2/6/e000657.full
The mechanism is still not completely sorted out, but Porphyromonas gingivalis (the principle bacteria in periodontal disease) is a gram-negative bacteria that continually sheds it outer cell wall made of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Almost nothing ramps up the immune system like LPS, which is released continually into the blood stream by these infections. Many authorities believe that chronic LPS in the blood is the cause of long-term inflammation, particularly of the coronary arteries. So here is an article where a dentist lowered her own arterial inflammatory markers by getting her own periodontal disease treated: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/feb/04/brush-with-danger/.
I spent nearly two years this last go-round getting both sides of my upper jaw cleaned out, with the right side recurring after a year of having normal pocket depth readings. Suddenly one day my water-pick blew open infection that came back up from the roots, and I had to have the tooth extracted to halt the infection. I’m hoping the other side doesn’t have the same problem, but it seems to be okay so far. My heart symptoms started shortly after this recurrence, but I suspect the process was underway for years.
The bottom line on this is to never let a periodontal infection get the upper hand in your mouth; in fact, never even let it get started.
While investigating what can be done to prevent PD, I found that many researches think that inoculation ones mouth with good bacteria to balance the bad can change the oral biome such that the population of Porphyromonas gingivalis is driven down to where it cannot cause gum disease at all. This is the strategy I’m using now that there are several oral probiotic products available in the market. I wish I hadn’t waited so long; I have known about this strategy for several years, but took no action until a month ago.
Here are links to the two products I have chosen to use:
The normal care of regular cleanings (I go every 3 months) with water pick use, brushing after meals and flossing nightly goes a long way to avoid the problem, but I want to emphasize that it comes to get us as we age, and needs to be battled if we don’t want to be getting heart disease. Now, after a month of using these two oral probiotics formulas, my teeth are whiter, I am trapping less food under the gums and all my pockets seem to be shrinking – it looks like this is working.
Good Living – Frank