The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Apr 11th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry

Heart DiseaseHeart disease is the leading cause of death among American adults, and periodontal (gum) disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for the same age group, so it should come as no surprise that there is a connection between the two. Today, San Francisco dentist Dr. Stefan Moiceanu wants to discuss the correlation between these two serious health conditions.

What are Heart Disease and Gum Disease?

The term heart disease—which is interchangeable with cardiac disease—encompasses any type of disorder that affects the heart. Some of the most common forms of heart disease include angina, arrhythmia, congenital health disease, coronary heart disease, and mitral valve prolapse.

Gum disease—also known in various stages as gingivitis, periodontal disease, and periodontitis—begins as infection and inflammation of the sensitive gum tissue and, if left untreated, can cause gum recession, tooth loss, and jawbone deterioration. Most often caused by a buildup of plaque or bacteria at the gum line, the most common symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, swollen gums, red gums, gum recession, and chronic bad breath.

What is the Connection Between Heart Disease and Gum Disease?

There are several theories surrounding the connection between heart disease and gum disease.

  1. When an individual develops gum disease, his or her gums are attacked with harmful bacteria that enter the bloodstream. When this happens, the bacteria attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries and contribute to clot formation by causing the walls of the arteries to thicken. Blood clots obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the release of the nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This is one of the main causes of heart attacks.
  2. Inflammation is one of the main components of gum disease, and this inflammation can lead to inflammation of the arteries, which can contribute to blood clots and—later—heart attacks.
  3. Because periodontal disease is a serious infection, patients are more susceptible to other health problems, which can cause existing conditions to become worse. For patients with cardiovascular complications, the onset of gum disease often requires additional and aggressive care from a periodontist and a cardiologist.

If you experience any early signs of gingivitis, it’s time to reserve an appointment with Dr. Moiceanu. To reserve an appointment at Hilltop Family Dental in Richmond, California, call (510) 758-7222 or visit us online at hilltopfamilydental.com. We serve patients from Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the greater Contra Costa County area.

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