By Amy Doneen, DNP, ARNP and Bradley Bale, MD
Just in time for National Gum Care Month, a new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Medical Science, demonstrates that a comprehensive approach to heart attack, stroke and diabetes prevention that includes oral wellness–our patented BaleDoneen Method–can quickly shrink the size of arterial plaque deposits by more than 50% in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading killer of American men and women.
Together with scientists from Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for Prevention of Heart Disease, we studied 324 patients at the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington, all of whom received comprehensive cardiovascular risk reduction treatments that included lipid-lowering medications (statin, niacin, and/ezetimibe), lifestyle modification, and additional therapies for those with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and other CV risks.
Dramatic Reductions in Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
During the first year of treatment, our personalized medical management of these patients lead to a 52.7% decrease in the size of plaque deposits in their neck arteries, compared to baseline, as measured by carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) ultrasound imaging. Not only did the plaque get smaller, but it also stabilized, helping these patients avoid heart attacks and strokes. (None of these events occurred during the study.)
After just one year of our individualized medical management, outcomes were as follows:
- A 50% decrease in lipid-rich arterial plaque (the most dangerous kind);
- A 43% rise in calcified plaque (the stable form that does NOT cause heart attack and stroke);
- A 31% drop in triglycerides
- A 25% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol;
- A 6% rise in heart-protective HDL cholesterol;
- A 5% decrease in systolic blood pressure.
Further benefits were seen during the second year of treatment, including:
- A 78.4% decrease in lipid-rich plaque
- A 56% rise in calcified plaque
- An 87% decrease in the difference between maximum and mean cIMT, indicating arterial wall healing and reduced vascular wall inflammation.
Healthy Gums and Oral Wellness Can Save Lives!
Optimal oral health is a key component of the BaleDoneen Method, which is based on a disease/inflammatory approach to vascular wellness. Given the multifactorial nature of CVD, and the well-established oral-systemic connection, a medical/dental team approach is essential to help patients achieve optimal cardiovascular wellness. We offer a 2-day CME/CE course for medical and dental providers that teaches the necessary measures to collaborate effectively on heart attack and stroke prevention.
To advance this collaboration, we will soon be publishing a new paper on recognition of CV risk in the dental office that highlights the causal role of high-risk oral pathogens in systemic inflammation and arterial disease, a process we call “the atherogenic triad.” As evidence mounts that arresting these periodontal villains reduces heart attack and stroke, there’s also a growing recognition that for many patients, CVD is a medical problem with a dental solution.
The BaleDoneen Method offers more than an evidence-based approach to prevent, halt or treat CVD. It is also an educational platform that strives to unite all of these medical and dental providers in harnessing leading-edge science in the fight to eradicate the no. 1 threat to our patients: CVD–not just in National Gum Care Month, but throughout the year, in a collaboration that really is lifesaving!