It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease; these include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris), stroke, and heart failure. Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease and periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue. Forms of gum disease can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit a dentist on a regular basis, practice good oral hygiene, and keep their dentist informed of any oral and overall health issues.
The inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s blood stream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system. The presence of the same bacteria known to cause periodontal disease was associated with an increased level of blood vessel thickening.
Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums. This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day, and visiting a dentist at least every six months. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.
Questions? Be sure to ask your physician and dentist.