LETTER: Gum Disease Increases Heart Disease Risk

Gum disease increases heart disease risk

After reading the potential indicators of heart disease women should pay attention to in the Feb. 26 article “Women and heart disease,” I’d like to add a little-known indicator of heart health: your gums.

The American Heart Association and American Academy of Periodontology agree there is an established link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. While a definitive cause-and-effect between these two conditions has not yet been published, research has long indicated that the presence of gum disease increases the risk of heart attack.

The suspected connection is inflammation. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. When it is left untreated, scientists believe inflammation of the gums allows toxic bacteria to move into the bloodstream, carrying inflammation to the arteries and the heart itself.

Many cases of gum disease, from gingivitis to periodontitis, are easily recognized in the mirror. Irritated, swollen, bleeding or receding gums should prompt you to make an appointment. In other cases, there may not be any obvious symptoms, and only a periodontal specialist will be able to detect the disease that may well be an obstacle to heart wellness.

When reviewing strategies to prevent heart disease, women and men alike should be sure to include a thorough periodontal exam as a simple first step. A treatment plan to restore healthy gums will, of course, help save your teeth. And it could possibly save your heart as well.

Wayne A. Aldredge

Periodontist

Holmdel


Story Credit: http://www.app.com/story/opinion/readers/2017/03/03/letter-gum-disease-increases-heart-disease-risk/98680192/