Gum disease and heart disease: The common bacteria
Gum disease and the connection to heart disease
Published: April, 2018
For me, it's been one of the more surprising observations in recent years: study after study has shown that people who have poor oral health (such as gum disease or tooth loss) have higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke than people with good oral health.
Why would cardiovascular disease and poor oral health be connected?
A number of theories have been proposed, including:
- The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage; tiny blood clots, heart attack and stroke may follow. Supporting this idea is the finding of remnants of oral bacteria within atherosclerotic blood vessels far from the mouth. Then again, antibiotic treatment has not proven effective at reducing cardiovascular risk.