Heart Disease and Oral Health

shutterstock_135683396Studies within the past ten years have suggested an association between periodontal disease and the likelihood of delivering preterm, low-birth weight babies, developing cardiovascular disease, and having difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Some studies have also linked periodontal disease to respiratory infection in people with pulmonary problems.

There are several theories as to how periodontitis may have an impact on heart health.

Oral Health and Heart Disease

One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.

Another theory is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque build up, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries.

News Releases and Articles

The National Library of Medicine’s compilation of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on heart disease and oral health.

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