HEALTH AND YOUR HEART
One study found that
85 percent of Heart-attack patients had periodontal
Current Research on Gum
Disease Link to Heart Disease
Periodontal or gum tissue care interacts
with three areas relating to cardiovascular disease: effects of medications, infective endocarditis, and the potential for periodontal disease to contribute to heart
you know that the connection between gum disease and heart
attacks is higher than the connection between high cholesterol
and heart attacks?
What Should I be Concerned
Researchers are finding possible links between periodontal infections and
other diseases throughout the body. Current
studies suggest that there may be a link between periodontal (gum)
heart disease and other health conditions.
In fact, research suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk
factor for heart disease than hypertension, smoking, cholesterol, gender and
studies suggest that people who have gum disease seem to be at a higher risk for
heart attacks, although no one is certain how this relationship works.
Your oral health affects your overall health, but the studies that will
find exactly why these problems are linked are still underway.
matters!: People who have both gum disease and a high
body mass index, were more likely to have increased C-reactive
protein-a serum in blood that is a marker for heart
disease. Archives of Internal
How Can Gum Disease Affect My Overall Health?
current theory is that bacteria present in infected gums can come loose and move
throughout the body. The same
bacteria that cause gum disease and irritate our gums might travel to your
Researchers are unsure
what causes the bacteria to become mobile, but it has been suggested that
bacteria can be dislodged and enter the bloodstream during tasks as simple as
brushing, flossing or even chewing.
shows that risk varies according to the level of gum infection.
The worse the infection, the more likely the bacterial are to become
blood-borne. Infected gums bleed,
making it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
If bacteria become dislodged, the bacteria enter through cuts or sores in
your mouth and travel to other parts of the body through your bloodstream.
bacteria reaches the arteries, they can irritate them in the same way that they
irritate gum tissue. This could
cause arterial plaque to accumulate in the arteries; which can cause hardening
and affect blood-flow.
blood-flow to your heart can cause a heart attack.
Also, arterial plaque can come loose and travel to other parts of the
body. If blockage occurs in the
brain, it can cause a stroke.
dentist may use a special rinse before a dental procedure to neutralize these
bacteria, but your best protection is to maintain a healthy mouth.
What Should I Do?
your mouth healthy! See your
dentist at least twice a year for periodic maintenance.
Gum disease is a serious gum infection that should always be taken
Although gum disease can
often show few or no symptoms at all, watch for gums that are red and irritated,
or gums that bleed easily. There
are many new treatments available to control and help reverse gum disease.
remember that gum disease is caused by plaque buildup.
Brush and floss regularly to remove plaque that you can’t see below the
gum line and remember to schedule regular check-ups. If you remove the plaque, you minimize the chance for getting
(picture courtesy of American Academy of
$1 spent on dental care can save $20 in medical care"*
men have heart attacks every minute.
Have Dental Treatment After a Heart Attack
percentage of reinfarction is unusually high for the first 6
months after an MI. During this time avoid anything
but absolutely necessary emergency dental treatment and with
close consultation with the cardiologist. While the six month
rule is a good starting point checking with the cardiologist
is a good rule to follow.
If treatment is really
absolutely needed before the 6 month time period, hospital
dentistry then becomes the location to have the emergency
Further Evidence Reveals the
Association Between Periodontal Disease
and Coronary Artery Disease
CHICAGO – October 26, 2004 –A
study published in a recent issue of the
Journal of Periodontology explains another
reason why people with periodontal diseases are
at a significant risk for coronary artery
The study looked at 108
patients with CAD and a group of 62
people without CAD.
“The results of this study
showed that periodontitis in cardiac patients
was significantly more frequent than in
non-cardiac patients.” said Professor
E.H. Rompen, Department of Periodontology
- Dental Surgery, C.H.U. Liège,
Belgium. “We found that 91% of patients with
cardiovascular disease suffered from moderate to
periodontitis, while this proportion was
66% in the non-cardiac patients.”
Periodontitis seems to
influence the occurrence and the severity of
coronary artery disease and increases the risk
of heart attack or stroke, and the study
proposes two hypotheses for this occurrence. One
hypothesis is that periodontal pathogens could
enter the bloodstream, invade the blood vessel
walls and ultimately cause atherosclerosis. (Atherosclerosis
is a multistage process set in motion when cells
lining the arteries are damaged as a result of
high blood pressure, smoking, toxic substances,
and other agents.)
Another hypothesis is based on
several studies that have shown that periodontal
infections can be correlated with increased
plasma levels of inflammation such as fibrinogen
(this creates blood clots), C-reactive
protein, or several cytokines (hormone
"This study supports earlier
findings, and even showed a significantly
higher prevalence of periodontal diseases in
cardiac patients. The data in this study
shows the importance of regular dental checkups
to ensure a healthy, diseased-free mouth.”