The Connection between Periodontal Disease and Coronary Artery Disease
Posted Aug 09 2009 12:00am
Research over the last number of years has shown compelling evidence of the link between periodontal or gum disease to chronic and systemic diseases in the rest of the body.
Gum disease occurs when harmful and destructive bacteria termed Aa (Actinomyces species) cultures with the pockets of gum tissue surrounding a tooth and slowly eats away at the surrounding structure. Teeth lose bone and ligament support and may abscess, become inflamed, painful, loosen and eventually require extraction.
Research has shown that there is an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, treating the underlying inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases buy may also help manage other chronic inflammatory conditions in the body.
A number of theories exist to explain the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the bloodstream, attach to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels), and contribute to clot formation.
Another possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque buildup, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries.
It’s interesting to note that researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.
Existing heart conditions can be exacerbated by periodontal disease and patients that are at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist can determine if your heart condition requires the use of antibiotics prior to any dental procedures.
Obvious but still of note, gum disease is exacerbated by smoking, poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental cleanings. There is also a genetic predisposition to gum disease but working with your dental professional can greatly reduce this risk and gum disease from happening to you.
Following a program of good dental hygiene and a healthy life style supported with appropriate nutritional supplementation using high quality proflavonols – grape seed extract, and CoQ10 (CoQuinone), which are rich in antioxidants and that fight the free radicals in your system will give you a good an excellent foundation to maintain your health.