Gum Disease & Heart Disease: The Connection

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.53.36 PMHaving good dental habits such as regular brushing & flossing, seeing your dentist every six months,and eschewing simple carbohydrates and acids that damage teeth will not just maintain a beautiful smile–it might just extend your life! Several studies have proven a connection between heart disease, the #1 cause of death in the US, and gum disease (periodontal disease).

In a recent study at the University of Florida, mice were infected with four specific bacteria that cause gum disease to see if there might be a correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. There was. After the bacteria were detected in the gums of the mice, researchers detected it within the heart and aorta. An increase in other risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and inflammation levels, were also detected.

That study is part of a larger study about the effects of gum disease on overall health. According to Kesavalu Lakshmyya in the University of Florida’s Department of Periodontology in the College of Dentistry, the goal is to increase awareness among physicians about links between oral bacteria and other physical ailments. “In Western medicine there is a disconnect between oral health and general health… Dentistry is a separate field of study from Medicine. The mouth is the gateway to the body and our data provides one more piece of a growing body of research that points to direct connections between oral health and systemic health,” says Kesavalu.

The next time you brush and floss, remember that it’s not just your smile you’re protecting!

To your health and beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists