If you need another reason to pay better attention to your oral health, here is one: Periodontal disease is linked to heart attacks, according to Dutch researchers.
Researchers from Holland’s Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, the country’s largest dental school, found a link between gum disease and heart attacks, stroke and severe chest pain. We have always known that there is a direct connection between oral health and the body. In a recent study published by the ADA experts explore how Periodontal disease is linked to heart attacks.
For this particular study, the Dutch researchers examined the medical records of 174 individuals aged 35 years old and above in an effort to find the link between periodontal gum disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. The researchers discovered that around four percent of the patients included in the study who had periodontitis also had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Even when other risk factors for cardiovascular disease like smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes have been eliminated from the equation, patients with periodontitis were 59 percent more likely to have heart problems.
However, experts cannot yet prove the direct correlation between gum disease and heart problems. Researchers suggest that the link between heart problems and gum disease can be traced to chronic inflammation. According to the experts, the presence of infection and inflammation in the mouth can possibly contribute to heart problems. Additionally, researchers posit that gum disease can lead to heart disease by creating a condition of chronic infection. This, alongside bacteria, can adversely affect a person’s circulatory system, including the heart.
Heart Disease in the United States
In the United States, heart disease ranks as one of the leading causes of death, accounting for 600,000 deaths annually. Periodontal disease, on the other hand, is the advanced stage of gum disease. In this condition, the gums are pulled away from the teeth, creating pockets. These pockets can then become infected. Apart from heart disease, gum disease has also been linked to other conditions, including dementia and skin disease.
Should this research conducted by Dutch experts be a cause of concern and alarm? Dentists believe that the correlation between periodontitis and heart disease is strong. However, when viewed against other risk factors, gum disease ranks relatively lower.
Nonetheless, the link between coronary disease and gum disease is there and you should take every precaution to prevent a medical issue that you can avoid. How do you prevent gum disease?
It’s all about mastering the basics. That includes brushing and flossing your teeth correctly and regularly. Using mouthwash can also effectively reduce plaque and eliminate food particles that brushing and flossing cannot. If you are at risk for gum disease, make sure that you consult your local Burtonsville dentist for advice and guidance.