What is the Link Between Heart Disease and Gum Disease?


What is the link between heart disease and gum disease?

I suffered a heart attack a few months ago and fortunately am recovering nicely. My

cardiologist recently suggested I see my dentist for an evaluation of my gums.




I am so glad you are recovering well.

Several studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart

disease. While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has

indicated that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have

coronary artery disease (also called heart disease).


Experts know that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through

the gums. These same bacteria have been found clumped in artery plaques. So one

theory is that these bacteria stick to the fatty plaques in the bloodstream, directly

contributing to blockages.


Research also blames the body’s own defense mechanisms against bacteria. One of

the body’s natural responses to infection is inflammation, which could be the root

of the problem. Research indicates a link between inflammation and many diseases

including periodontal disease, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.


Everyone should make a special effort to prevent oral health problems, especially

those with a history of heart disease. If you already have periodontal disease, you

certainly shouldn’t ignore it. A visit to your dentist or periodontist is your next step.


Contact the office of Dr. Robert L. Machen DDS MS, Periodontist in Austin Texas.

(512) 912-9750

2500 W William Cannon Drive #103

Austin, TX 78745