American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

Moderate to severe periodontal disease is linked to higher risk of heart disease, with research pointing to a connection between gum disease and inflammation that can precede heart attacks, strokes, and sudden vascular events. Although the exact nature of the cause-and-effect relationship currently remains unclear, researchers suspect that the oral bacteria present in patients with gum disease can enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and plaque accumulation in blood vessels. In addition, people with heart valve disease who have gingivitis are at risk for infections in the bloodstream that can enter the heart and infect the vulnerable heart valves.

Because the connections between heart disease and oral health are well-documented, emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene and assisting patients in locating affordable dental care are important contributions that primary care clinicians can make to help promote good heart health.

Click here to review slides from OHNEP‘s presentation, The Importance of Oral Health for Populations with Cardiovascular Disease.