Periodontal Disease and the Link to Heart Disease

Having a clean mouth has been a very important part of healthy living for generations. Until early humans found out that hygiene is so important, gum disease and periodontal disease plagued humanity.

Periodontal Disease

Severe Tartar Buildup - Before and After Image - Periodontal Disease and the Link to Heart Disease

Periodontal disease is the result of a buildup of plaque below the gum line. This can cause inflammation. That inflammation over time can cause the breakdown of tissues and even the bones that support your teeth. If you have chronic Periodontal Disease, your teeth can end up falling out due to tooth decay and the weakening of your gums. There are options for people who are afflicted with this chronic condition though. Dental offices such as Mudrow Family Dental have very much experience with this issue and are able to extract teeth and keep the inflamed gums clean.

There are a few different types of Periodontal Disease, these are including:

  • Periodontitis: This type affects the gums below the gum line as well as also affecting the teeth and deteriorating the jaw bone.
  • Aggressive Periodontitis: This type of Periodontal Disease spreads very rapidly, affecting the gingival tissue and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. Bone destruction occurs very fast in this case.
  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease: This usually only occurs in individuals who have immunosuppression or HIV. What happens in this case, is the cutting off of nourishment to various dental structures leading to decay and death of the tissue, bone, and teeth.

Signs of having potential Periodontitis include:

  • Pain when chewing
  • Poor teeth alignment
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets between teeth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Sores on the inside of the mouth
  • Loose or sensitive teeth

If you are experiencing any or multiple of these, it may be time to go in and see a dentist and see what he or she has to say about the condition of your mouth.

Having a healthy mouth does indeed have a correlation with a healthy heart as of this point in time. Hygiene is always something that people should always keep up with regardless, but in this sense is it even more important. 1 in 4 people die each year, now whether or not this connects specifically with periodontal disease or not, it should be noted.

Heart Disease

About 1 in 4 people die from heart disease each year in the United States. That is about 610,000 people every year while 738,000 people have a heart attack each year ( 2018). Since the age of the Pharaohs, scientists have found that people have had troubles with heart disease. For the Pharaohs in particular, 2009 American Heart Association held a meeting in Florida to study mummies from ancient Egypt and found that they had evidence of cardiovascular disease. 16 mummies were studies and 9 of them were tested and found probable-definite to have been plagued with heart disease during their lifetime. This puzzled the scientist as first, but after thinking about it, they theorized that this was more likely connected to their diets. High status egyptians had access to more fatty meats like cattle, ducks and geese which led to them having high cholesterol which is a known cause for heart troubles. It is still unclear as to when humans first started to become aware of heart diseases. However, it is known that Leonardo Da Vinci studied coronary arteries. William Harvey (1578-1657) is credited for discovering that blood moves around the body in a circulatory manner from the heart. Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742) noted later that coronary disease led to the narrowing of arteries which reduces the amount of blood flow ( 2018). In more modern studies of the affliction, it has been found that for people who aren’t genetically susceptible to heart disease, it actually set in much earlier than previously expected.

Heart disease is a name for many different situations that can be caused by a heart condition. These including blood vessel diseases like, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems or also situations brought on by genetics or birth defects. The causes of these are mostly unknown, but there are a few known causes or theoretical causes like periodontal disease that causes inflammation of blood vessels which is a known factor for heart disease.

The Connection with Heart Disease

What the average person as well as professionals need to know is that Heart disease is a problem that humans have had to deal with since the dawn of humans have been around. Heart disease can be caused by a variety of different factors whether it be diet, lack of exercise, even genetics. But heart disease is also known to be caused from Periodontal Disease. You may be asking yourself how this is possible. While it is still in the air as far as being completely factual, recent studies have found some interesting evidence that further strengthen the argument.

The big factor in this topic is inflammation. Inflammation occurs with Periodontal Disease in the gums and jaw area due to the buildup of bacteria. With heart disease, the afflicted person will experience inflammation as well. For heart disease, this can cause a hardening of the arteries also known as “atherosclerosis”. This hardening makes it difficult for blood to reach the heart. Other factors that can come from this inflammation is the narrowing of the arteries as well. This narrowing makes blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body difficult. This is a big deal when is comes to periodontal disease. Think about the inflammation in the gums that occurs. Gums are filled with blood vessels, and when you have the bacteria and build up from the disease, the chances of that bacteria getting into your bloodstream becomes very high. Once this bacteria gets into your bloodstream, this is what can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which in turn causes heart disease. The current problem with this argument is the fact that scientists can’t at this point determine cause and effect. In theory, a dentist could look into your mouth and determine if you are at risk for heart disease, but this is purely circumstantial. Thankfully the evidence is strong, and this is great because the closer that scientists can get to figuring out the smoking gun for heart disease, the closer we as a species will get to ridding the world of heart disease all together.