PDS is offering volunteer opportunities for its team members and raising awareness of how oral health can impact the heart – and vice versa.
IRVINE, CALIF. Feb. 9, 2023 – Pacific Dental Services® (PDS), one of the nation’s leading dental support organizations, is recognizing American Heart Month by continuing to raise awareness of the link between oral health and heart health with several campaigns targeted toward patients and its own team members.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. On average, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 36.1 seconds in the U.S. While oral health likely doesn’t play a role in all of those events, the association between oral health and heart health is too strong to ignore. About 90% of middle-aged adults and more than 74% of young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and gum disease or oral inflammation.
“Pacific Dental Services continues to lead the way in highlighting the connection between oral health and overall health, or what we call the Mouth-Body Connection®, and the benefits that are possible through dental-medical integration,” said Stephen E. Thorne IV, Founder and CEO, Pacific Dental Services. “Science continues to demonstrate the correlation between periodontal disease and systemic conditions like heart disease. Our goal throughout American Heart Month is to continue educating our team members and the communities we serve about the importance of maintaining good oral health.”
Periodontal disease is a severe gum infection affecting more than 700 million people, making it is the sixth-most prevalent disease worldwide. A recent article suggested that people with periodontal disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.
Some of the ways Pacific Dental Services is observing American Health Month include:
- PDS team members and supported practices participated in the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day on Feb. 3 to help raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. The initiative, Go Red for Women, is designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.
- Encouraging patients and PDS team members to join the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s #OurHearts movement to inspire people to support each other to be heart healthy and achieve heart-health goals. The better we understand #OurHearts, the more we can take care of them, which is why PDS team members are offered the Wellness Toolkit to find ways to improve their well-being.
- Inviting PDS team members in Irvine, California, Dallas, Texas and Henderson, Nevada to spend some of their Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 creating no-sew heart pillows for those recovering from open heart surgery. The pillows provide an extra layer of comfort to combat painful jolts from coughing, sneezing or moving and helps to reduce pain by keeping the surgical incision and skin around the incision in place.
- PDS team members in Irvine, California are invited to participate in an interactive CPR demonstration on Feb. 16 hosted by members of the Orange County Fire Authority in Irvine, California.
- PDS-supported practices are distributing the latest issue of Generations of Smiles, an educational magazine produced by the Smile Generation® that aims to educate the public on the link between oral health and whole-body health. The latest issue focuses on the connection between oral health and heart health.
Since its inception in 1994, PDS-supported clinicians have been committed to educating patients about the link between oral health and whole-body health – what PDS and its supported practices call the Mouth-Body Connection®. Research shows that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body. Periodontal disease has been connected to systemic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy complications that lead to pre-term/low-weight births, and more. Conversely, the link is often bi-directional: many systemic diseases, conditions and even medications can affect a patient’s oral health.
Pacific Dental Services was also the first dental support organization in the world to implement Epic, the most widely used comprehensive health records system, into all of its supported dental practices. Through Epic, oral health providers can easily exchange patient data with medical providers for improved patient care. This powerful tool helps connect what is happening in their mouth with the rest of their body, leading to better overall health for the patient.