Boise Dentists Blog

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Are Gum Disease and Heart Disease Really Connected?

If you’ve been around our Boise dental office, you may have heard mention that gum disease and heart disease are connected. Here’s what the experts know:

There is a Connection

Image via Flickr by Skype Nomad

The jury is still out, but there is definitely a connection between gum disease, periodontal disease and heart health. According to a recent study of over 600 people in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, those with disease-causing bacteria in their mouth were more likely to have atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that can cause a stroke. In fact, according to the Connecticut Department of Health, researchers have found that those with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease.

Bacteria Can Enter Your Bloodstream through Your Gums

Another thing dentists and doctors alike agree on is that bacteria can get into your blood through your gums, which should be motivation enough to brush your teeth. And while it is unclear whether this bacteria causes inflammation in your arteries or simply sticks to particles in your blood, there could be a link between the two.

Is Gum Disease a Sign of Heart Disease?

Another theory about the connection between gum disease and heart disease is that gum disease is a result of heart disease, and not the other way around. So if a Boise dentist tells you that you have gingivitis or periodontitis, be sure to take the steps you need to clear up the problems in your mouth, and also consider taking a trip over to the doctor to get your heart checked out, too.

So the answer is yes, there is a connection between gum health and heart disease, although no one understands what exactly that means. In the meantime, listen to your Boise dentist and doctor and do what you can to take care of both your gums and your heart.

Have you had gum disease or heart disease? Were the two connected in your case?