Heart Attack Risk Increases With Gum Disease Severity

dental office in Powell

At our dental office in Powell, the team at Frontier Family Dental educates patients on the interconnectedness of their oral and overall health. Our doctor stresses the importance of enjoying quality gum health so that patients can lower their risk for other types of systemic disease.

Severe gum disease, a condition known as periodontitis, is linked to a higher risk for heart disease, and the risk increases for patients with more severe gum disease, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology.

As part of a follow-up of an earlier study, researchers discovered that periodontitis is significantly more common in first-time heart attack patients when compared to those with healthy gums. According to researchers from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, patients with periodontitis have an increased risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. This increased risk, which paralleled with periodontitis severity, was especially apparent in patients who’d already suffered a heart attack.

“Our study suggests that dental screening programs including regular check-ups and education on proper dental hygiene may help to prevent first and subsequent heart events,” wrote the research team in a statement.

The results of this and other studies only further underscore the importance of scheduling regular visits at our dental office in Powell. By maintaining and improving their oral health, patients can successfully lower their risk for systemic disease.

Study Shows a Clear Connection

The study involved over 1,500 participants with an average age of 62. Of this group, 985 were classified as healthy after a dental exam between 2010 and 2014, while 489 had moderate gum disease and 113 had severe gum disease.

The researchers then conducted a follow-up with all participants to determine the occurrence of cardiovascular events and death, collecting the data from Swedish patient registries until the end of 2018. Over the course of the average follow-up – a period of 6.2 years – there were 205 primary events – death, nonfatal heart attack or stroke, or severe heart failure.

Participants with gum disease had a 49 percent higher odds of experiencing one of these primary events when compared to those with healthy gums. The likelihood of experiencing one of these events increased further depending on the severity of a patient’s gum disease.

The research team hypothesizes that the damage to gum tissue in patients with gum disease may enable harmful bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream. Oral plaque moves freely about the body once in the bloodstream until collecting in heart valves. Once in the heart, plaque triggers inflammation to develop, which leads to the increased risk of heart disease and heart attack.

Protecting Your Health

Protecting your heart health means protecting your oral health. The more researchers examine the connection between oral and overall health, the clearer the connection becomes.

By scheduling regular visits with our team at our dental office in Powell, you help protect the body against the development of gum disease.