Oral Infections Increase Risk of Heart Disease

family brushing their teeth

Whether you need a dentist in Sunnyside, Clackamas or Portland, our team at Clackamas Smiles have your oral health needs covered. To ensure your oral health needs are being met, you need a dentist that stays up-to-date on the latest breakthroughs in dentistry. By keeping up on the latest advances in dental care, our team at Clackamas Smiles Family Dental can ensure you and your family’s oral health stays strong for a lifetime.

Could an undetected infection at the root of a tooth increase your risk of heart disease? That’s what the results of a recent Finnish study suggests.

“Acute coronary syndrome is 2.7 times more common among patients with untreated teeth in need of root canal treatment than among patients without this issue,” states lead researcher John Liljestrand.

An infection of the roots of a tooth is typically caused by tooth decay.

The results of this study were published in the Journal of Dental Research.

An Increased Risk Factor

As part of this recent study, researchers gathered 508 Finnish patients with an average age of 62 who were currently experiencing heart symptoms at the time of the study.

The coronary arteries of the participants were examined using angiography, which found that 36 percent of participants were found to be suffering from stable coronary artery disease, 33 percent were experiencing acute coronary syndrome, while 31 percent were not suffering from any serious degree of coronary artery disease.

The teeth of the study participants were examined using panoramic tomography of the teeth and jaws. Nearly 58 percent were found to be suffering from one or more inflammatory lesions.

Researchers also discovered that dental root tip infections were connected with a high level of serum antibodies related to the type of oral bacteria commonly associated with this type of infection. This indicated that oral infections affect other parts of the body – such as the coronary arteries – as well.

The Mouth/Body Connection

Various forms of gum disease – such a gingivitis or periodontitis – are regarded as an independent risk factor for diabetes and coronary artery disease. Root tip infections have received very little previously study in relation to the spread of inflammation throughout the body, even though they appear to be connected with minor inflammation.

Cardiovascular diseases result in over 30 percent of deaths each year worldwide. Most patients can lower their risk through a combination of not smoking, exercising, controlling their weight, and eating a healthy diet.

Patients can also lower their risk of the tooth decay and gum disease that causes root infections by scheduling regular dental exams and checkups with their dentist in Sunnyside, Clackamas or Portland. Regular exams allow our team at Clackamas Smiles to spot the signs of gum disease early on while the condition is still easily treatable. Early prevention is key to helping to protect the health of your teeth and gums, while also lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease.