Several studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease. While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.
Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association. In patients who have a high susceptibility to gum disease, the immune system can produce small quantities of potent chemicals that flow away from the site of the periodontal disease. These chemicals increase inflammation throughout the body. This is believed to contribute to various side effects, including changes in the blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis and fatty arterial build up: increasing a person’s risk for heart attack and/or stroke.
Cardiologists and Periodontists have joined forces to produce a consensus paper , summarising the scientific evidence that links periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.
The consensus paper recommends that dentists should not only inform their patients of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with periodontal disease, but also assess their risk for future cardiovascular disease and guide them to be evaluated for the major risk factors. The paper also recommends that physicians managing patients with cardiovascular disease examine the mouth for the basic signs of periodontal disease such as significant tooth loss, visual signs of inflammation, and receding gums.