Is Periodontitis linked to Heart Attacks & Strokes?

Find UK Dentists »

As well as severely affecting your oral health, periodontitis or gum disease can also have a serious effect on your general health too. According to research carried out by the British Dental Health Foundation, there is a definite correlation between gum disease and a risk of developing not only heart problems but also diabetes, premature births, babies with a low birth weight and even infertility. Other studies have indicated that those suffering from gum disease may be up to twice as likely to develop coronary artery problems than those without. Most people are not aware of the serious risks posed by such a common problem. A vast majority of people will experience gum problems at some point in their lives but in most cases it won't impinge on their overall health.

There are a number of theories which have been put forward to explain the link between gum problems and heart disease. One of the most popular states that, as the bacteria from the mouth enter the blood stream, they attach themselves to fatty plaque in the blood vessels of the heart and there they can contribute to the formation of blood clots. These clots can go on to prevent the normal flow of blood which can leave the heart lacking the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function optimally. In many cases this, combined with a thickening of the artery walls can often contribute to the increased chances of heart attacks. Other theories suggest that the build up of plaque which is associated with gum disease can possibly lead to an increased swelling in the arteries. Its long be known that if you currently suffer from a heart condition, then gum disease can often cause the problem to worsen. But, studies have also found a direct causal relationship between oral infections and strokes.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »