Is there a Connection between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease?

Research has shown that there may be a connection between gum disease (periodontal disease) and cardiovascular disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, adults with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease. One study found that gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

Gum Disease and and Cardiovascular DiseaseScientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association with cardiovascular disease.

Gum disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires the use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association included 657 people without known heart disease. People with higher blood levels of bacteria in the mouth were found to be more likely to have atherosclerosis in the carotid artery in the neck, which can lead to stroke.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, people with periodontal disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular events. Risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection and inflammation of the gums and bone. In the early stage (gingivitis), the gums can become swollen and red, and may bleed. In the later stage (periodontitis), the gums can pull away from the teeth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are mostly seen in adults, and they are the two biggest threats to dental health. Almost fifty percent of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.

Signs of Gum Disease

Any of these signs can be a clue that you have periodontal disease:

  • swollen, red, or tender gums
  • gums that bleed easily
  • bad breath
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • loose teeth or teeth that are moving apart
  • the buildup of hard brown deposits along the gum line

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease can be preventable. Adding these habits to your daily routine can help.

  • Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, bacteria can hide there too.
  • Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between the teeth and along the gum line.
  • Use mouthwash. Using mouthwash can help reduce plaque and remove food particles that brushing your teeth and flossing may have missed.
  • Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet, and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dentist.


If you or a loved one is suffering from gum disease, call Webster Dental in Downers Grove at 630.663.0554. Our dental group is located at 1121 Warren Avenue, Suite 130, in Downers Grove, Illinois. Barbara Webster, DDS, a Downers Grove dentist, specializes in general dentistrycosmetic dentistryrestorative dentistrydental implants, and periodontal disease with proven results. Webster Dental has patients from Downers Grove, Lisle, Woodridge, Lombard, Westmont, Darien, Willowbrook, Glen Ellyn, Burr Ridge, Oak Brook, Hinsdale, as well as other Chicago communities.


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