Gum Disease Linked to Heart Disease

It’s easy to see the importance of brushing and flossing for the dental health’s sake, but did you know these preventive measures help ward off more serious health conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and pancreatic cancer?

Two-thirds of gum-disease-causing bacteria are motile, or capable of moving from the mouth to brain tissue and into the blood stream, allowing them to wreak further havoc on your body by leading to additional illnesses.

Heart Disease

In 2008, research from joint teams at the University of Bristol in the UK and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland revealed that those who suffer from gum disease have an increased risk of heart disease. The risk is increased because “bacteria from the mouth is able to enter the bloodstream and stick to platelets, which can then form blood clots, interrupting the flow of blood to the heart and triggering a heart attack.”1

The Bristol team studied how bacteria interact with platelets by recreating the pressure inside blood vessels and the heart. They found bacteria surround themselves with platelets, protecting them from treatment like antibiotics and shielding them from immune cells.

That means that when a person gets an infection in or near the mouth like strep throat that requires antibiotics, the bacteria may move into the blood stream and remain even after medicine makes the patient feel better.

Prof. Howard Jenkinson, from the University of Bristol, added: “Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus sanguinis are common infecting agents, and we now recognize that bacterial infections are an independent risk factor for heart diseases.”1

Put your health first this year. Lower your risk of heart disease by treating your gum disease. Call our office today at (775) 358-1555 to schedule a consultation.

This post is part of a three-part series exploring the link between gum disease and serious health conditions. Click HERE to read about the link to Alzheimer’s, and check back next month for information linking gum disease to pancreatic cancer.