The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

Gum disease is one of the leading drivers of tooth loss, which is a serious enough consequence, but the effects of periodontal disease may extend far beyond your mouth and include your heart health.

If you consider that people with gum disease have two to three times the risk for developing a serious cardiovascular issue, such as heart attack or stroke, you see that the connection may be more than a coincidence.

As part of our comprehensive cardiac prevention assessments here at Lafferty Family Care, Dr. Scott Lafferty and our team offer oral DNA testing.

In the following, we explore why gum disease may be linked to heart disease and how you can stay one step ahead of both through oral DNA testing.

Gum disease and bacteria

When you develop gum disease, bacteria get up underneath your gums and begin to eat away at both the soft and hard tissues (your gums and your teeth).

Unfortunately, these bacteria may not stay local and can enter your bloodstream, causing an inflammatory response in your body. This response occurs as immune cells flood your bloodstream in order to attack and eliminate the bacteria.

Since your body’s immune response is systemwide, the inflammation can affect your heart, your blood vessels, and the valves in your heart, placing you more at risk for a serious cardiac event.

While researchers don’t claim to understand the direct link between periodontal disease and heart disease, there’s ample evidence to support the theory that the two may be connected, such as the statistic we mention above about the presence of gum disease and the increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Evaluating your gum health

Our goal here at Lafferty Family Care is to help our patients avoid serious health issues, such as potentially life-threatening cardiac events, which is why we provide thorough cardiac prevention assessments. These evaluations include taking a closer look at metabolic markers, genetics, and your oral DNA.

To determine whether you have periodontitis, we turn to MyPerioPath®, which provides molecular analyses of periodontal and systemic pathogens. Not only can we test for oral pathogens, we can determine the type and number to determine your risks. 

The oral DNA test is incredibly simple — all we need to do is collect a sample of your saliva. From there, we can provide you with a comprehensive report, such as the one you can see here.

If we do find evidence of periodontitis, the good news is that gum disease is highly treatable, especially if you can address it in its earlier stages. 

Ultimately, oral DNA testing is a great solution for tracking two important areas of your health — your heart and your oral health — and well worth the small effort.

To schedule your cardiac prevention assessment, including oral DNA testing, contact our office in Bentonville, Arkansas, to set up an appointment.

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