A study published in Circulation—an American Heart Association journal—found that gum disease puts a person at 50 percent greater risk of a heart attack. Consider also that in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 50 percent of Americans age 30 and up had gum disease.
Periodontitis and Its Relation to Coronary Artery Disease—often abbreviated PAROKRANK—is not the first study of its kind. Gum disease causes inflammation, which can affect people beyond just their teeth and gums. Heart disease is a matter of inflammation itself, and so a link has long been theorized.
In order to better understand the connection, the PAROKRANK researchers compared the gum health of subjects with heart disease and those without. The research encompassed more than 1,600 adults in Sweden. About 800 of them experienced a heart attack between 2010 and 2014, and the other half had never experienced a cardiac incident at all. In addition to performing dental exams on all subjects, researchers collected data about each person’s lifestyle and general overall health.
Roughly 43 percent of subjects who had experienced a heart attack had gum disease. Of the pool that had not had a heart attack, only 33 percent had gum disease. This difference is substantial and a clear indication that gum disease is more prevalent in heart attack sufferers. Further analysis found that those with gum disease were more than 49 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack.
Numerous studies now have been able to demonstrate a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, and inflammation is often a constant in such research. While definitive proof of a relationship between heart disease and gum disease is yet to be found, PAROKRANK supports the studies that came before it and strengthens the evidence that there is a link.
More evidence is certainly required for the advancement of medicine, and the research to come is likely to shed even more light on gum disease, heart disease, and inflammation in general. Those findings may help medical professionals better diagnose and treat these issues as well as help their patients avoid them. In the meantime, the average person does not need definitive proof. There is enough evidence to motivate us all to protect our gums in order to help ensure a healthy heart.
Take Care of Your Gums and Protect Your Heart
The link between gum disease and heart disease is another great reason to keep your gums healthy. That begins at home with regular oral hygiene, but you must also visit your dentist. During a regular checkup, your dentist can remove bacteria-harboring plaque as well as spot the first signs of periodontal disease. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is among the leading dentists in the area and can provide the care you need to maintain healthy gums. Call Scottsdale Dental Excellence at 480 585 1853 to schedule your appointment.