Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that there is a correlation between individuals having gum disease and heart disease. Some of these findings suggest that people with gum disease are as much as twice as likely to have heart disease. This makes the presence of gum disease as much of a risk factor of heart disease as high cholesterol. Yikes!
These findings do raise the immediate question of what the underlying link between gum disease and heart disease is. Though it has been well observed that the two are likely to coexist, the reasons why this is are a lot less well understood.
The leading theory as to why people with gum disease are more likely to also have heart disease is that the two conditions are caused by the same harmful bacteria. When one has gum disease, these bacteria grow in their gum line. Chewing, brushing your teeth and even swallowing can cause these bacteria to get into your bloodstream.
Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can stick to the fatty deposits in people’s arteries. This can cause swelling of the arterial wall- much in the same way as sufferers of gum disease have swelling of their gum tissue. This swelling can lead to blockages that may, over time, contribute to cardiovascular disease.
It must be noted that although this is the leading explanation for the observed link between gum and heart disease, it is not the only possible one. Indeed some argue that there is not intrinsic link between the two diseases, but rather the observed relationship is simply due to the fact that the lifestyle habits that contribute to heart and gum disease are very similar.
Even though it has not been established whether the two diseases are intrinsically linked or whether they simply share a lot of risk factors and are therefore often found together, the link between gum disease and heart disease means that symptoms of gum disease should not be taken lightly. These symptoms include bleeding when brushing, bad breath, and sore gums.
If you have any of these symptoms please call us on 020 8748 1381 or book online and let us put together a treatment plan that can manage the problem as quickly and effectively as possible.
It could save more than just your smile.
Ron Baise is a general dentist and founder of 92 Dental. He has over 35 years experience in general dentistry, including 31 years as a principal dentist.