Heart Disease and Dental Health Connections

Research indicates bacteria and inflammation in the mouth are associated with problems like heart disease and dementia. The culprit: plaque build-up. Plaque is from bacteria that continuously forms on our teeth. If the plaque build-up goes untreated, this can lead to gum disease and eventually periodontal disease (a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth).

Scientists have found increasing associations between periodontal disease and a number of other health problems including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premature Birth

Dr. Dan Peterson, DDS, says
"A dentist may be the first one to suspect health problems, including heart disease. A sore or painful jaw is one indicator of heart disease. There's also a connection between gum disease and heart problems. By eliminating a local infection involving a tooth or the gums, patients have been able to decrease blood pressure medications and improve overall health. New research is suggesting that people with gum disease are at higher risk for heart attacks. If bacteria in the infected gums dislodge, they can enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation. That in turn decreases the blood flow to the heart, increasing chances of a heart attack and aggravating high blood pressure."

Experts believe oral bacteria escapes into the bloodstream, affecting major organs. Patients who have gum disease are more likely to have poor overall health, including heart disease. To keep plaque under control, it is recommended that we brush twice a day, floss daily and use an antimicrobial mouth wash to reduce harmful bacteria. Also, have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months. Ask your dentist to recommend the best cleaning regime and what products to use.


Published on January 30, 2019.