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Gum Disease and Heart Disease Linked

Heart disease affects millions of Americans and is the leading cause of death worldwide. It is well understood that certain factors such as smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol contribute to heart disease. However, it is not clear why some people with no known risk factors develop heart disease. Researchers have discovered a link between gum disease and heart disease that sheds new light on the disease process.

In a study at the University of Otago Dunedin in New Zealand, investigators found that the bacteria involved with gum disease are linked to “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), a main cause of heart attacks. The bacteria causing gum disease  produce proteins that trigger the immune system to release white bloods cells. The white blood cells build up in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. The bottom line:  Gum disease needs to be prevented, treated, and controlled to help reduce the risk of heart disease. 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.