Gum Disease and Heart Disease

It is becoming more and more apparent that there’s is a link between gum disease and heart disease. The link appears to have to do with inflammation. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and periodontal (gum) disease all have an inflammatory component. The general feeling at this time is that inflammatory components of gum disease can worsen plaque buildup in the arteries leading to the heart. The plaque buildup narrows the inside of those arteries, thus, restricting the blood flow.

Another theory is that bacteria that is present in periodontal (gum) pockets gets into the blood stream and attaches to the coronary arterial plaques. This theory says that that could contribute to clot formation. Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are more than twice as likely to have coronary artery disease.

Even though theses theories haven’t been thoroughly proven, it is still a good idea to make sure that you are free of gum disease. A thorough periodontal exam by a dentist is necessary to be certain that gum disease is not present. This is because symptoms are not usually present until the later stages of the disease when irreversible bone damage occurs and the teeth start loosening.