Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center say that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer from atherosclerosis – a narrowing of blood vessels that can lead to stroke or heart attack. The study, appearing in the journal Circulation, provides the most direct evidence to date that preventing gum disease could significantly improve your chances of avoiding vascular problems.
Other studies have suggested a relationship between periodontal disease and vascular disease, but they have relied on surrogate markers for periodontal disease, such as tooth loss or pocket depth. This is the first study to examine the microbiology of periodontal infection and positively connect it to atherosclerosis. “This is the most direct evidence yet that gum disease may lead to stroke or cardiovascular disease,” said Moïse Desvarieux, lead author of the paper. “And because gum infections are preventable and treatable, taking care of your oral health could very well have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health.”
“We will continue to study these patients to determine if atherosclerosis continues over time and is definitively associated with periodontal disease,” concluded Desvarieux.