Bellingham Dentist

Periodontal Disease and Health of the Heart

Causing the Link: Inflammation and Bacteria

Research has revealed that if you have periodontal disease, you are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, and more so if you have high cholesterol. The same research also point out that more than 85 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, while more than 200 million American adults have some form of periodontal condition. The relationship between these two systemic diseases can be attributed to the suspected role of bacteria and inflammation.

Consider this scenario. In the human body, there are always barriers between different tissues. The gums surrounding your teeth are effectively separated from other tissues such as muscles and bone. However, nerves and blood supply are continuously providing stimuli and vital nutrients to all tissues and organs of the body. In cases of gum infection, like periodontal disease, its bacteria can break down the barrier between the gums and underlying connective tissues causing swelling and inflammation.

Normal activities like chewing and brushing can cause bacteria to travel the bloodstream and invade other organs, such as the cardiovascular system.

There is a high possibility that oral bacteria can trigger a similar response that can lead to the formation of plaques in arterial walls of the cardiovascular system. In fact, the same oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis. The fatty deposits, made out of cholesterol, can break loose and clog arteries that may lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Usually, hypertensive people also suffer from high cholesterol levels that contribute to the narrowing of arteries. While scientists are still researching whether inflammation is at the root of the problem, they say it is firmly established that a link exists between periodontal disease and heart disease.

Avoid a Heart Attack: Treat Periodontal Disease in Bellingham

If you wish to know more about this link, visit your Bellingham dentist. Don’t let yourself be a statistic in the growing number of adult Americans with periodontal disease, who might also just have a heart condition.