Gum Disease Associated with Heart Attacks

The most common strain of bacteria found in dental plaque may cause blood clots that can escape into the bloodstream. This causes an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.

If you have receding gums or notice a bleeding gum that is often red and irritated, and if you’ve noticed that your breath is bad, you may have a gum infection.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, there are several theories that explain the link between periodontal 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. 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.

In fact, periodontal disease may increase your risk for other health concerns including a weakened immune system, diabetes, stroke, lung and respiratory disease, preterm, osteoporosis and even low birth babies. Some of these are threatening to life.

How do people know if they have periodontal gum disease? When you brush your teeth, your gums bleed. And are red, tender and swollen. Other signs are when permanent teeth become loose or separate. And if you have persistent bad breath. People with periodontal disease have an infection that causes chronic inflammation of the gums. This is a path for these bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

Many other diseases have early warning signs, but gum disease often progresses without pain and silently. More than half of all people over 18 have at least the early stages of periodontal disease, and the numbers increase to three out of four people who are over 35. The worse part is that it not only destroys the gum surrounding your teeth, but the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. If there are pockets or spaces between your gums and teeth, your dentist may suggest a course of treatment that will help stop further damage to your gums and bones.

One Beverly Hills dentist recommends periodontal disease treatment that includes regular appointments with your dental team to make sure there’s no plaque build-up. You should also attack plaque on a daily basis by using a one-step powered tooth brush.

The Swedish Dental Journal says that it helps remove plaque bacteria twice as fast as a regular tooth brush.