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Periodontal disease and cardiovascular health

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Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. If there is an infection in your gums your entire body is being affected by the bacteria that is present in your mouth. Periodontal disease is more severe and detrimental than gingivitis and happens when bone loss starts to occur around the teeth. The bacteria present with periodontal disease also circulates throughout your body and can affect the heart health, among other things.

In a lengthy study, 804 healthy subjects were examined to determine their periodontal status. Out of these 804 subjects 166 individuals died during the study. Aside from factors that contribute to death, such as smoking, alcohol use, blood pressure, and more, it was determined that the periodontal status of the subjects did have an effect. It was determined that those individuals who had approximately 21% more bone loss had a 70% higher chance of dying than their periodontally healthy counterparts.1

There have been numerous studies over the decades regarding the link between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. It is known that there is an association between the two, however the exact impact and severity of the impact of periodontal disease on cardiovascular disease is not yet determined. Therefore, although it is important to have good oral hygiene in order to have a healthy body overall, it would not be warranted to prescribe periodontal treatment to prevent cardiovascular disease.2

Overall, it is important to remember that because periodontal infections and periodontal disease are identified as potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease, taking care of one’s overall health needs to include the teeth and mouth as well.

1) Newman, Takei, Klokkevold, Carranza (2006). Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology. ED 10. St. Louis, MO. (P. 315).

2) Demmer, R.T., Desvariaux,M. Periodontal Infections and Cardiovascular Disease: the heart of the matter. JADA 2006;137(10 supplement):14S-20S.

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