Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Researchers, doctors and nutritionists have long been telling people to eat healthy in order to have a healthy heart. Eat the right fats, not the wrong fats; limit your sugar intake; and count those calories. But now it looks as if keeping your heart healthy isn’t only a matter of what you put in your mouth but the condition of your mouth, as well. More specifically, your gum health may affect your heart health. Although the evidence is not conclusive, avoiding gum disease may help you avoid heart disease, too.

According to Dr. Robert Bonow, past president of the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, a direct link between gum disease and heart disease has not been proven. The connection may be that people who take care of their oral hygiene with brushing, flossing and regular checkups may also take better care of their overall health. Conversely, those who neglect their oral health may be more likely to pay less attention to their general health, too.

Nevertheless, cardiologists, periodontists and researchers agree gum health and heart health may be linked. Take for example the inflammation that is a symptom of both conditions. Hardening of the arteries is largely due to inflammation. Likewise gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, is marked by gums that are inflamed.

A report published by Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology states that gum disease is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries in the legs.

Sam Low, DDS, associate dean at the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville, and president of the American Academy of Periodontology, says that while research cannot yet irrefutably link gum disease and heart disease, there are two areas of exception. First, the bacteria associated with both conditions are similar. Tissue with gum disease and blocked arteries were found to have much the same bacteria. Secondly, there is the inflammation. With any type of inflammation, the body’s level of C-reactive protein, or CRP, increases. Patients with either gum disease or heart disease have both been found to have a heightened level of CRP.

Contact Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists

Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists provide services to repair and renew your periodontal health. For gum disease, Colorado Springs trust Drs. Lackler and Haradon. To ensure your periodontal health and heart health, please request an appointment!

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