The Mouth/Body Connection

Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys the bone and gum tissues that support the teeth, affects nearly 75 percent of Americans and is the major cause of adult tooth loss.

Recently, a consensus paper on the relationship between heart disease and gum disease was published in the online versions of two leading publications, the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology (JOP).

Research now suggests that managing one disease may reduce the risk for the other.

As a result, cardiologists may now examine a patient’s mouth, and periodontists may begin asking questions about heart health and family history of heart disease.

According to Dr. Bonner, “We know that inflammation is a major risk factor for heart disease, and periodontal disease may increase the inflammation level throughout the body. Several studies have shown that patients with periodontal disease have an increased risk for cardiovascular and carotid disease, so we feel it’s important to develop a partnership between us and pro-active cardiologists to c help our patients.”

“We believe additional research will help identify the precise relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, however, it looks like inflammation – the body’s reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury or shield against irritation – is playing a key role. While inflammation’s role initially is to have a protective effect, untreated chronic inflammation can lead to dysfunction of the affected tissues, and therefore to more severe health complications.”

Periodontal disease has also been linked to Diabetes, respiratory disorders and other conditions.