Periodontal Disease and Heart Health... is there a link?
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
Lauren Janowiecki | Thomas C. Volck, D.D.S. | 07/19/2018
As a business manager/designer that dabbles in medical information technology and blogging, I am by no means a medical expert. Which means there's a LOT about the body and all of its quirks that still boggle my brain. So when our EFDA, Kashel, came up and asked me to write a blog about the link between periodontal disease and heart disease I, quite literally, laughed out loud. I mean seriously- gums and teeth are NO WHERE NEAR the heart, right?! How could there possibly be a connection between the two? As ridiculous as it sounded to me, I can't pass up a good challenge. I decided to take on the subject, and found myself deep in the world of all things blood vessels.
What I found, was both impressive, and, not going to lie, a little scary.
As we all know, our bodies are impressive and mysterious things. And unless you are an educated healthcare provider, there is a lot that I think many people don't know. Like how there is a VERY real connection between your teeth, gums, and heart health. According to the report (below) by Kelli Miller, Thomas Boyden, Jr., MD, and Scott Merritt, DMD, the connection is much greater than I expected.
"Does a healthy mouth equal a healthy heart?" More and more, the research says "yes." Doctors have been talking about the potential link for nearly two decades and with good reason. Heart disease is a serious problem around the world. So is poor oral health. Could better brushing and flossing give you a healthier heart? And could dentists take a peek inside your mouth and see if you're at a greater risk for heart disease?
Doctors say YES.
"For the most part, the data is circumstantial. It's hard to prove cause and effect," says Thomas Boyden, Jr., MD. He's the medical director of preventive cardiology at Spectrum Health Medical Group Cardiovascular Services in Grand Rapids, MI. "However, I think the data is pretty strong and there is definitely a link."
Scott Merritt, DMD, founder and partner of Bridgemill Dentistry in Canton, GA, agrees. "I absolutely believe there is a strong correlation between oral disease and heart function."
What's the link? In a few words- inflammation (swelling) and infection. Scientists have proven that inflammation leads to