Despite the objections of the American Heart Association, it seems very clear that gum disease contributes to heart disease risks, which has been shown again in the largest-ever study of the connection.
In this study, which was mostly focused on the use of a particular drug to control plaque buildup in the arteries, 15,828 people from 39 countries–all of whom had coronary heart disease–were given a survey, had physical exams, and underwent testing. As part of the survey, they reported how many teeth they had left and whether they experienced gum bleeding when brushing teeth.
About 16% of subjects reported that they had lost all their teeth, and 41% had fewer than 15 teeth left. About a quarter (26%) said they experienced gum bleeding when brushing teeth.
When researchers performed a statistical analysis, they found that increasing tooth loss was significantly associated with many risk factors for heart disease, including:
LDL cholesterol levels
Systolic blood pressure
Higher fasting glucose levels
While gum bleeding was associated with the first two items as well.
Although about 70% of participants were smokers and many had confounding conditions, the association remained even after correcting for common risk factors, such as age, smoking, diabetes, and education level. Because of the strength of the association, researchers concluded that gum disease is an important marker for heart disease risk. They stopped short of positing a causal link between gum disease and heart disease.
We haven’t just found the smoking gun of heart disease: we have found the finger on the trigger. And we know how to disarm it.
With good home care (including daily flossing), regular check-up and hygiene visits, and gum disease treatment, you can protect your heart. If you are overdue for a dentist appointment or notice gum bleeding, please call 610-272-0828 for an appointment at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell in Philadelphia.