The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Attacks

Previous studies have found the incidence of heart disease is about twice as high in people with periodontal (gum) disease, but until recently no plausible cause has been suggested. Now studies indicate that the most common strain of bacteria in dental plaque may cause blood clots. When blood clots escape into the bloodstream, there is a relation to increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

People with periodontal disease (over one half the adult population) have an infection that causes chronic inflammation of the gums. Also, it is a path for these bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

A recent study describes the association between heart disease and gum disease to be at least as strong as the linkage of heart disease to cholesterol, body weight, or smoking.

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Periodontal Disease

If you were diagnosed with periodontal disease, you are not alone. Many others have the same problem. Treatment is the first step in preventing tooth loss.

The word periodontal means "around the tooth." Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space is usually three millimeters or less.

Periodontal diseases are infections that affect the tissues and bone that support teeth. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than three millimeters. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the pocket depth and bone loss. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow and make it difficult to practice effective oral hygiene. Left untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss.

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Want to Quit Smoking?

We want to help you succeed! Smoking is the #1 risk to your health. Although it may be tough, there are many health benefits when you stop using tobacco. You can save money too! The link below can help you find a cessation program that is best for you. Don't give up! Most people try to quit about 7 times before they succeed. If you need additional resources, please contact the Stark County Health Department at 330-493-9904.

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