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Bleeding Gums and Heart Attacks

Six large studies show that people with bleeding gums are at increased risk for heart attacks. The association holds for Harvard doctors, army veterans and Pima Indians. Antibiotics cured the Pima Indians' gum disease and protected them from heart attacks. People with gum disease have high blood levels of C-reactive protein, a chemical that is elevated when a person has an infection and are at high risk for heart attacks (1).

Two specific bacteria found regularly in the intestines, Campylobacter rectus and campylobacter showae, have been shown to cause gum disease (2). These bacteria can usually be cured with quinolone antibiotics (ofloxacin) or erythromycin (Zithromax, Biaxin).

Another group of bacteria called chlamydia have been shown in more than 500 studies to cause heart attacks, and several studies show that taking the antibiotics Zithromax or Biaxin helped to prevent second heart attacks. Other studies show that people who have been given erythromycin or quinolone antibiotics within a year were far less likely to suffer heart attacks. Chlamydia is killed by antibiotics such a Zithromax, Biaxin, Dirithromycin, doxycycline, minocycline, and the quinolone class.

If you have gum disease or are at high risk for a heart attack because of high cholesterol or diabetes, ask your doctor to let you take erythromycin antibiotics for several weeks. Also see your dentist for definitive treatment of chronic periodontitis or gingivitis.

1) TJ Wu, , Trevisan, RJ Genco, KL Falkner, JP Dorn, CT Sempos. Examination of the relation between periodontal health status and cardiovascular risk factors: Serum total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, and plasma fibrinogen. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2000, Vol 151, Iss 3, pp 273-282 Address Wu TJ, SUNY Buffalo, Dept Social & Prevent Med, Buffalo,NY 14260 USA.

2) PJ Macuch, ACR Tanner. Campylobacter species in health, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Journal of Dental Research, 2000, Vol 79, Iss 2, pp 785-792Address:Tanner ACR, Altran Corp, Boston,MA USA

3) J Clin Periodontol. 2004;31:19-2.

4) J Gen Intern Med 2008;23:2079-2086.

5) Am Heart J 2007;154:830-837)

6) Journal of Periodontology, October 2006).

Checked 11/3/16

May 28th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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