Can Gum Disease Lead to Heart Disease?
According to the Harvard Medical School website at health.harvard.edu, study after study has shown that people who have poor oral health (such as gum disease or tooth loss) have higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke than people with good oral health. Why would this be?
The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease) also travel through the blood vessels to other parts of the body. The bacteria cause inflammation in the blood vessels which damages them and can lead to tiny blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. This is especially true if you have artificial heart valves.
Some studies have also shown connections between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. And since diabetes and cardiovascular disease are closely related, evidence indicates that periodontal treatment can benefit these patients, too.
While some of these studies point to an association between oral and heart health, more research needs to be done. In any case, why take a chance? A healthy mouth and a regimen to keep it that way (including not smoking, and getting regular dental care) can help you keep your teeth. That's reason enough to do what you can to make oral health a priority. Brush and floss daily and see your dentist regularly.
Let Dr. Neal determine your oral health and organize a regimen for you to get a healthy mouth. Call Dr. Neal's office for an appointment today.
Neal Family Dental
333 NW 3rd Avenue
Canby, OR 97013