Several studies have shown an association between heart disease and periodontal disease, however, a definite cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been demonstrated. Research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.
The exact mechanism for the association between heart disease and periodontal disease is not known. Several possible theories have been proposed, including:
- Heart disease and periodontal disease share many similar risk factors, including smoking, diabetes and age;
- Oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream, and irritate the blood vessel linings or increase the changes that blood clots will form and block your arteries;
- Periodontal disease appears to result in increased production of C-Reactive Protein by the liver. C-Reactive Proteins have been shown to contribute to inflamed arteries and may cause blood clots and therefore have a strong association with heart disease; and
- Both heart disease and periodontal disease are processes that involve inflammation. Individuals who have higher levels of inflammation in their body may be at higher risk of developing both heart disease and periodontal disease.