Cardiovascular disease (heart disease) and gum disease

There are many studies, which suggest that oral health and gum disease in particular may be related to serious conditions like heart disease. Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.

Many systemic diseases, including heart disease, have oral symptoms. We can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation. Formal diagnosis and treatment of tooth and gum infections can lead to a decrease in blood pressure medications and improved overall health.

The risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease, such as smoking, poor diet and diabetes.

To find out more about Periodontal treatment and Cardiovascular disease please call us to speak with our friendly team or fill out our contact form.

What is Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ACVD)?

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ACVD) are a category of diseases that include:

  • Coronary heart disease (angina or heart attack – myocardial infarction)
  • Ischaemic cerebrovascular disease (stroke or mini stroke – transient ischaemic attack)
  • Peripheral vascular disease

Atherosclerosis occurs when arteries become clogged up by fatty substances (known as atheroma), this causes the arteries to harden and narrow which can restrict the blood flow to organs and stop them from functioning properly. If the atheroma ruptures it can cause a blood clot which can block the blood supply to the heart (triggering a heart attack) or it can block the blood supply to the brain (triggering a stroke).

How is Periodontitis and Systemic Inflammation linked?

In addition to periodontitis causing damage to gum and bone supporting the teeth it can also have potentially negative consequences for general health. Inflammation anywhere in the body is bad and it has been linked to many of the chronic diseases of aging. When periodontitis is present the mouth can be a significant source of inflammation. Research has indicated that there is the potential if left untreated for periodontitis to exacerbate other inflammatory conditions such as ACVD.

There is strong evidence that the bacteria and toxins found in the periodontal pockets can enter the blood stream (known as a bacteraemia) during chewing, brushing, flossing or scaling. This provokes an acute inflammatory response which can lead to the development, maturation and instability of fatty lesions (atheroma) in the arteries, increasing the risk of an adverse ACVD event.

The risk of a bacteraemia occurring depends upon the patient’s periodontal health, a bacteraemia is more common in patients with periodontitis compared to those who have healthy mouths.

What are the effects of periodontal treatment on cardiovascular outcomes?

Studies have demonstrated that treatment of periodontitis can reduce systemic inflammation, specifically it has an effect on the levels of a pro-inflammatory acute-phase protein agent called C-reactive protein which is an important known risk for ACVD.

To find out more about Periodontal treatment and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease please call us to speak with our friendly team or fill out our contact form.