The Link Between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease

Gum disease centers around plaque build up around teeth. Another kind of plaque makes up heart disease by building up in the heart’s arteries.

People with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. As such, many have correlated a link between the two.

The Inflammation Connection

Periodontal disease increases inflammation. Acute inflammation causes a tide of immune cells that attack microbial invaders, but long-term inflammation hampers the body and immune system. Inflammation is a main factor to many health problems, including atherosclerosis.

The Rabbit, Heart, Mouth Experiment

A Harvard study by researchers at the Forsyth Institute used rabbits fed cholesterol heavy diets to parallel human heart disease. Next, some of the rabbits were infected with bacteria known to cause periodontal disease. Those rabbits developed atherosclerotic plaques that were more likely to cause a heart attack. The subject rabbits also suffered higher blood levels of inflammation. Researchers treated these rabbits with an anti-inflammatory oral topical liquid. The treatment not only prevented periodontal disease in the infected rabbits, but also lowered inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Early gum disease can be eradicated by good oral hygiene. If your dentist says you have gingivitis, then ask for brushing and flossing pointers to make sure you are doing everything right. At least, twice-yearly cleanings by a dental professional is also advisable.

Gingivitis can worsen into periodontal disease. The gums become loose around the root of the tooth, creating a gum pocket that deepens. Eventually, the infection and inflammation can cause the tooth to loosen and possibly fall out.

Call our office today at 818-584-1841 for a consultation to review your oral health to maximize your overall health.