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A female asked:

is there a connection between heart disease and gum disease? my dentist is treating me for gum disease, and mentioned that there may be a link between heart disease and gum disease. is this true? do i have to worry about heart disease now as well as losin

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Theodore Davantzis
Dentistry 40 years experience
Yes, : Yes, there is. The text below is copied from the perio.Org website and outlines the connection: several theories exist to explain the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks. Another possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque build up, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.
Dr. Eric Linden
Specializes in Periodontics
Yes it is true: There have numerous studies showing an association between unstable gum disease and heart disease.
Dr. Duane Keller
Dentistry 45 years experience
Inflammation = cause: The bacteria that cause gum diseaes can also get into your blood stream. These bacteria are reported in the literature to be found associated with strokes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, alzheimer's disease and a host of other problem it appears that gum diseae maybe the portal of entry as to how they get into the body. Check our perio protect for answers.
Dr. I. Jay Freedman
Dentistry 43 years experience
Connection, sort of: While medical and dental researchers see connections between the the oral bacteria that cause gum disease and the bacterial plaque in coronary arteries, are starting to see part of the inflammatory cascade of both diseases and the american heart association still require a dental clearance before heart valve surgery, the direct and specific link is not fully completely understood. Stand by 4 more!

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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