By: Thomas E. Levy
The current medical literature now clearly demonstrates that the pathogens found in root canal-treated teeth and chronic gum disease are the direct causes for the vast majority of heart attacks today. Less concretely established, it also appears that these same dental pathogens are often the direct cause of most cases of breast cancer and a strong contributing factor to strokes secondary to ruptured cerebral aneurysms. Other infected teeth are often asymptomatic but are even more toxic than root canal-treated teeth. Detectable only by Xray, teeth with evidence of chronic apical infection are actually not uncommon, and the importance of actively looking for such infected teeth is extremely important in the patient with any chronic degenerative disease, but especially coronary heart disease. The problems with cavitations and dental implants are also discussed, along with the common denominator linking their infectious toxicity to that of chronically infected teeth. The importance of any degree of hypothyroidism as a facilitating agent for allowing the spread of dental pathogens, especially into the coronary arteries, is also addressed. A general treatment protocol for approaching chronic degenerative diseases is discussed, along with the absolute need for increased cooperation and coordination between physicians and dentists for the optimal treatment of their patients. Dentists need to refer their root canal treatment patients to physicians for cardiac evaluations, and cardiologists, internists, and general practitioners simply must make a dental evaluation for infected teeth a routine part of the workup in their cardiac patients.