Gum Disease FAQs
Is there a link between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease?People with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (heart disease) than those who have healthy gums.* Studies have suggested that common oral health problems like periodontal disease can be as clearly correlated with heart disease as cholesterol levels. Keep in mind that no one has proven that gum disease causes heart disease; the two conditions have simply been shown to co-exist frequently.
The "why" of the gum disease/heart disease relationship is still under intense scientific research. We do know that oral bacteria can find their way to the bloodstream through the gums. Some researchers believe that these oral bacteria cause blood cells they come in contact with to swell, narrowing an artery in the heart. Research is still ongoing about the connection between oral health and heart health, but most medical professionals believe that a patient who suffers from severe periodontal disease may also be likely to have cardiovascular problems.
If you are worried about heart disease, treating your teeth and gums well shouldn't be the only step you take toward cardiovascular health. Whether or not periodontal disease is a potential risk factor in heart disease, good oral hygiene is simply a good idea!
*American Academy of Periodontology, cited at http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/periodontal-disease-heart-health
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