Gum Disease: A Relatively New Risk Factor for Heart Disease

           gum-disease Previous research studies have reported a link between periodontal (gum) disease and the development of heart disease and the metabolic syndrome (which is pre-diabetes).  Gum disease is associated with inflammation which can increase the risk for heart problems and increase the development of belly fat.  A recent meta-analysis of 7 research studies with over 345,000 people was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2008).  This review found that gum disease was associated with a 24% increase in the risk for heart disease.

            Systemic inflammation can affect the blood vessels throughout the body.  When someone has a high cholesterol level along with inflammation they are at a higher risk for plaque rupture.  When plaque (plaque is the accumulation of fat/cholesterol inside the blood vessel wall) inside the blood vessel ruptures the blood comes into contact with the fat and cholesterol and a blood clot can form – the blood clot can block off the blood vessel which can lead to a heart attack.  People with high cholesterol levels should think about having their inflammation level checked.  There are simple blood tests (c-reactive protein or the PLAC test) which can be performed to detect your inflammation level.  People with gum disease may benefit from having their inflammation level checked.  Gum disease is a relatively new risk factor for heart disease.  So talk to your dentist or doctor if you have gum disease to further assess your risk for heart disease.

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3 Responses to Gum Disease: A Relatively New Risk Factor for Heart Disease

  1. safetypin says:

    I love this blog!

  2. bob says:

    I wish I could write this well! great blog thanks.

  3. According to the CDC, about 1 in 12, or approximately 8% of the population of the United States has diabetes. Just about every person knows somebody with the disease, as 1 in 3 families are affected by diabetes. Of the nearly 24 million people with diabetes disease, about 6.2 million people remain undiagnosed primarily due to ineffective or lack of screening. 62 million people are pre-diabetic and many of them do not know it. Many will become diabetic without early identification and life style changes now. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 93% of all diabetes and which used to be seen only in adults. Within the past decade, more and more cases are being diagnosed in children. The reason is clear – lack of exercise and excessive caloric consumption leads to obesity, which is a precursor for pre-diabetes.
    The Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) Kit, through Healthy Heart Dentistry® (seen at combines a rapid blood glucose test to determine fasting blood sugar levels with a confirmatory, laboratory analyzed hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to check for long term glucose control. This DRA Test Kit, currently the only FDA-Approved test on the market that combines the testing of both glucose and HbA1c scores in a single drop of blood, and the only risk assessment to identify pre-diabetes, provides all the materials needed to collect and test the blood sample. The test can be taken in the comfort of the patients’ home at a fraction of the cost of a hospital or blood lab. A professional laboratory report of the results and diabetes risk is sent to the patient.
    Through a Healthy Heart Dentistry initiative in July of 2008, children were given the Diabetes Risk Assessment test in 6 busy retail outlets as part of their back-to-school physical exams. The results over a 30 day period showed that 27% of the children had pre-diabetes and 2 children had undiagnosed diabetes.
    In many cases, bleeding gums is the very first sign of diabetes. Talk to your dentist today about getting a thorough periodontal health exam, and ask your dentist if he/she has joined in the Healthy Heart Dentistry mission to reverse this diabetes epidemic in our program called Dentistry Against Diabetes™.

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