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Gum Diseases May Result in Heart Attacks

  • Uncategorized
  • Apr 27, 2021

Periodontitis is also known as gum disease, which leads to infection in the soft tissues around the teeth. If left untreated, it can not only cause bone destruction but also be the reason for teeth loss. It might be very interesting to know that periodontitis and heart diseases are connected. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50% of people in their 30s have symptoms of gum diseases which increase to 70% for senior citizens. Although there is also a clear association between gum diseases and several illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and many more.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts and the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge have provided evidence that gum diseases can lead to cardiovascular diseases. A senior member of the studies conducted at the Forsyth Institute stated that combined with age and possible history of cardiovascular issues, it can be dangerous for an individual to ignore periodontal issues. This was, after reviewing nearly 300 PET and CT scans for signs of inflammation connected to gum disease and inflammation of the arteries. It was also noted that after 4 years, 13 individuals suffering from periodontitis had also suffered a cardiovascular issue.

Hence, it was understood by the researchers at the Forsyth Institute as well as Harvard School of Dental Medicine that signs of inflammation associated with ongoing gum diseases at the initial stage of the study were more prone to having a cardiovascular issue. Another observation from this study was that individuals already having gum diseases had a higher chance of having arterial inflammation which can further cause cardiovascular problems at a later stage.   In essence, the aforementioned associations were static and were statistically higher even after other causes like age, gender, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, or high amounts of fat in the bloodstream were identified by the research team.

Some more observations made by the joint research team were that those with bone loss signs due to previous gum disease with no inflammation had no risk of suffering from heart diseases. Previously, a study done on animals provided evidence that gum disease ripens a set of immune cells known as “neutrophils” which created extreme reactions on coming in contact with infection symptoms within the body. These neutrophils subsequently sent cytokines that increased the inflammation. The author of these studies was optimistic about larger studies confirming the outcome of their studies and is sure that treatment of gum diseases would help reduce the chances of arterial inflammations and in turn lower the chances of cardiovascular disease development.