Many previous studies have found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. The exact link between the two still isn’t entirely clear but it is thought that the constant low level inflammation in the gum tissue raises the level of certain inflammatory chemicals throughout your body. This can be a significant contributor in the development of various types of heart disease. It is also linked to a variety of other health problems. See our section on the mouth-body connection for more information.
In a long term observational study published in PLOS ONE in June of 2016, researchers found that high calculus scores (heavy, hard build-up on teeth indicative of long term poor oral hygiene) were highly correlated with the development of angina pectoris (chest pain indicative of heart disease). Interestingly plaque scores (soft build-up on teeth), gingival index scores, and the number of periodontal pockets did not increase the risk of developing chest pain associated with heart disease. A high calculus score increased the risk of developing angina over a 26 year period by over 2 times!
So what does all this mean for you?
If you’ve got bleeding and inflamed gums, please go see the dentist!
If the dentist diagnoses you with periodontal disease get it treated!
Spend a little extra time every day working on your oral hygiene, especially flossing! Not only will you protect your teeth but possibly your heart as well!