Gum disease and heart problems

There have been recent articles and research papers to indicate and possible link between gum disease (periodontitis) and heart disease (cardiovascular disease).  It has been found that people with periodontal diseases are twice likely to get coronary artery disease as those without any gum disease.
Research has shown almost 92% of people who have CVD also have severe to moderate periodontitis (gum disease).
Some studies suggest that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a thickening of the arterial walls or clot formation.  Any blockage of the arteries can lead to heart attacks.
Latest research suggest that gum and heart disease may actually share the same variation of a gene.  The researchers found that a locus on chromosome 9p21 is associated with both heart attack and gum disease.  Both disease share several risk factors including smoking, diabetes and obesity.  So people with periodontal disease should take care to reduce their risk factors and keep the disease from progressing.
It is very important that every individual has good up to date oral hygiene techniques to minimise the collection of plaque in the mouth.  Regular visits to your dentist, hygienist and in some cases a specialist periodontist is a good way in ensuring that conditions are picked up and managed, to reduce risk of future problems.
written by Dr Amit Dodia

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