Heart Disease and Stroke
Research suggests that people with advanced periodontitis are nearly twice more likely to have coronary artery disease than who do not have periodontal disease.
Many theories explain the connection between heart disease and periodontal disease. One is that bacteria from the mouth enters the blood stream and attaches to the fatty plaques in the blood vessels of the heart. This in turn contributes to clot formation. Coronary artery disease occurs when the walls of the coronary arteries thicken due to the accumulation of fatty proteins. Blood clots can hinder normal blood flow. This prohibits the heart from receiving the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for it to function correctly.
Another theory is that inflammation, as a result of periodontal disease, increases plaque buildup, which may cause the arteries to swell.
In addition, periodontal disease can make existing heart conditions worse. If you are at risk for developing infective endocaritis, an infection of the endocardial surface of the heart, we may prescribe antibiotics prior to your procedure. We will consult your cardiologist prior to your procedure to determine if an antibiotic is needed because of your heart condition.
Research also indicates a connection between periodontal disease and stroke. One study found that persons with acute cerebrovascular ischemia (shortage of oxygen to the brain), were more likely to have an oral infection in comparison to those persons in a control group.
Keeping periodontal disease under control can help to control and or prevent stroke and heart disease.
Click here for more consumer information on heart disease and stroke from the AmericanAcademy of Periodontology.