Gum disease linked to serious heart conditions

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are serious oral health conditions.

Recent studies have demonstrated that patients with gum disease have a higher chance of developing heart conditions than those who don’t.


Inflammation is the culprit

Gingivitis and periodontitis are inflammatory diseases. The inflammation is caused by bacteria harbored in plaque, the gooey matter that sticks on teeth. The bacteria end up destroying the nearby tissues, including the teeth and gums. This causes bleeding, the release of pus, and inflammation. The gums gradually become loose, allowing the bacteria to deposit in the depths of the gum pockets. The close proximity of the bacteria in the bottom of the pockets to the neighboring blood vessels allow the bacteria to travel through the bloodstream.


When the bacteria enter the bloodstream, they are able to travel to distant sites, far away from the mouth. This includes the heart and the major arteries that supply blood to the organs of the body. The microbes can trigger an inflammatory  response in the tissues of the heart, potentially causing life-threatening conditions.


Will the risk of stroke be increased due to gum diseases?

Gum disease in the presence of other health conditions, like obesity, can cause severe health problems including stroke. Obesity results in the accumulation of fatty deposits on the walls of the blood vessels. When the bacteria from the infected gums reach these fatty deposits through the bloodstream, they can influence the formation of blood clots in them. This significantly increases the chances of stroke in the patient.


How can this be avoided?

● The TL;DR on this is that with regular, effective home care and routine visits to the dentist, much of the risk can be eliminated.

● When you notice receding gums or bleeding during normal home dental hygiene, seek a professional dental opinion. As is the case with most periodontal diseases, neglect only makes the problem worse.

● Check with your dentist whether a deep cleaning to remove calculus and plaque from below the gumline is appropriate for you.

● Brush and floss your teeth regularly to remove the bacteria from the mouth.

● Visit the dentist at least once every six months for routine consultations. This allows us to keep a check on your oral health and halt infections in their initial stages.

● Eat a healthy diet of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats and beans and seeds.

Call or visit Smiletheory to schedule your next exam and cleaning and to talk to Dr. Singh about any concerns you have about the gum health and systemic health connection.