The Worse your Teeth are, the Higher your Risk of Heart Disease

heart disease and teeth

heart disease and teethServing patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville TN

Heart disease is responsible for approximately 25% of all deaths in America each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You probably know that certain factors influence your risk for heart disease: weight, diet, lifestyle, but you may not realize that your oral health also could raise or lower your vulnerability to cardiac problems. Read on as your Greeneville family dentists at Tusculum Dental Care explore this issue.

Periodontitis can affect your cardiovascular system

Earlier this year, at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, a team of scientists based out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, realized their findings from a study that identified a potential link between periodontitis and heart disease. In short, the results of their study identified that the severity of periodontitis—the advanced stage of gum disease—raised the participant’s risks of cardiovascular disease.

Scientists found that periodontitis was more likely among patients who suffered from their first heart attack compared to patients of the same age, gender, and from the same geographical region. Working long-term, the Swedish team wanted to see if the existence of gum disease increased the risk of a new cardiovascular event as time passed. Looking at 1,587 study participants who were, on average, 62 years old, they found that 113 of the participants had severe periodontitis and 489 had moderate periodontitis. Over the next 6.2 years, 205 of the participants suffered a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, were diagnosed with severe heart failure or died. Now for the disturbing part: study participants who already had periodontitis at the beginning of the study were found to be 49% more likely to experience one of those endpoint events—a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or death. The probability of suffering from one of these rose as gum disease became more severe.

“We postulate that the damage of periodontal tissues in people with gum disease may facilitate the transfer of germs into the bloodstream,” said the study author, Dr. Giulia Ferrannini. “This could accelerate harmful changes to the blood vessels and/or enhance systemic inflammation that is harmful to the vessels.”

When you develop gum disease, a bacterial infection attacks your gum tissue. If allowed to progress, gum disease advances into periodontitis. In this stage, pockets of bacteria from under your gums. These pockets expand as bacteria spread and multiply, ravaging your dental health. This bacteria proliferation can also filter into your bloodstream, forming arterial blockages that lead to cardiac disease.

Treating Gum Disease in Greeneville

At Tusculum Dental Care, we believe being educated about health issues empowers patients. Now that you know about this possible link between heart disease and gum disease, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to prevent it? That’s why, if you have gum disease or you’re suffering from symptoms of gum disease such as bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, or loose teeth, seeking prompt and proper treatment is key. Tusculum Dental Care offers a comprehensive program of periodontal treatment that includes repetitive therapy and laser therapy. To find out more or schedule a consultation, call (423) 639-7575 if you’re located in the areas of Greeneville, Jonesborough, and Erwin in Tennessee.