Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease & Stroke
There is a causal relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease. Patients with oral conditions are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those with healthy mouths. Periodontal disease has also been proven to exacerbate existing heart conditions.
One link between periodontal disease and heart disease is oral bacteria in the bloodstream. There are many strands of periodontal bacteria and some strands enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries. This attachment leads to clot formation and increased risk to a variety of health issues including heart attack.
Another link between periodontal disease and heart disease is inflammation, which is caused directly by periodontal disease. Inflammation increases white blood cells and C-reactive proteins (CRP).High levels of CRP amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response. When bacteria from periodontal disease enters the bloodstream, the liver produces extra CRP, which leads to inflamed arteries and possibly blood clots. Inflamed arteries can lead to blockage, which cause heart attacks or strokes.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Enacting positive oral hygiene practices and obtaining treatment for periodontal problems can help prevent the risk of developing this risky condition.
Patients with periodontal disease are also more susceptible to strokes. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is suddenly stopped. This may occur, for example, when a blood clot prevents blood from reaching the brain.