Is Gum Disease a Risk Factor for Heart Disease?

Feb 1st, 2013 | By | Category: Gum Disease, Oral-Systemic

Gum DiseaseThe oral-systemic connection describes the relationship between oral health issues and your systemic wellbeing. The link has been the subject of numerous studies across the globe, and the various results continue to add understanding to the complex inner workings of our bodies. Among the most alarming discoveries to stem from oral-systemic research is the possibility that gum disease may contribute to potentially fatal heart issues. Because gum disease affects over 80% of the adult population in America, its suspected role in such illnesses makes proper oral health care exponentially more important than you may have believed. To help highlight the urgency, Richmond dentist Dr. Stefan Moiceanu explains the possible connection between poor gum health and heart diseases.

From Humble Beginnings

The typical common denominator in the studies that seek to examine the oral-systemic connection is the bacteria that are responsible for myriad human health issues, including dental diseases. While over 600 different kinds of bacteria live in your mouth, one in particular has been the subject of concentrated attention for its ability to incite inflammation in your body’s soft tissues. This germ, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, is a significant contributor to dental plaque; the sticky biofilm that can often stick to your teeth and gums. Inflammation is your immune system’s natural reaction to the presence of harmful microorganisms, and when plaque gathers at your gum line, P. gingivalis’ presence can cause inflammation of your gum tissue (a condition known as gingivitis, or early gum disease).

The Microbial Connection

When the soft tissues in your mouth are compromised, the wounds can serve as access points for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As it travels, P. gingivalis could potentially incite inflammation in other tissues throughout your body. Recent studies have shown that the germ is present in excess during many inflammatory heart conditions, including blood clots, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis, among others. While more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms behind the suspected link, the evidence underscores the importance of keeping your mouth clean and free of excessive bacteria.

Keep Your Gums Healthy in Richmond

Although the link between gum disease and heart disease is not precisely defined, the effects of unchecked dental diseases are. When allowed to progress, gum disease works to destroy your smile’s foundation of gum tissue and jawbone. To learn more about the importance of maintaining a strong and healthy smile, schedule a consultation with Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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