Oral Health and Coronary Artery Disease

Researchers have found that people with periodontal or gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without gum disease. There are a couple of current theories of how this happens.

  • When bacteria from the mouth enter the blood vessels, they attach to fatty proteins and may lead to blood clots and plaque build-up. This may lead to heart attacks.
  • Inflammation caused by periodontal disease could also increase plaque build-up, which may cause arteries to narrow and harden.

Why is it important to see my dentist if I have CAD?

Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S.  Studies show up to a 2 fold increase in the incidence of cardiovascular disease in people with periodontal disease.   C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a protein that is found in the blood whose level is related to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Treatment of periodontal disease can provide a positive impact and possibly reduce CRP levels.

Periodontal (gum) disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Some patients who have heart disease may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. A periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if the heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Cardiovascular Disease in Hawaii

Increases in hospital charges associated with cardiovascular disease have steadily increased approximately 6% annually over the past several years and is estimated to continue in the future 

 hospital charges


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