Your dentist is correct. There does seem to be an association of periodontal disease (infection and inflammation of the gums that can lead to the loss of your teeth) with heart disease and cardiac events.
Both are common problems. 75 percent of US adults have at
least mild periodontal disease, and 20-30 percent have it severely.
Artherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, with 30 percent of all deaths being attributed to it.
The seven major and widely accepted factors of causes of coronary disease are:
- Elevated cholestrol levels
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
blood sugars (diabetes or pre-diabetes)
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor diet
There has been much research looking at the association of systemic
inflammatory states, from low-level chronic infections such as periodontal disease,
chlamydia, Heliobactor Pylori, and Cytomegalovirus, affecting endothelial function
(the lining cells of your arteries) and making the arteries more susceptible to cholesterol
Remember, association does not prove causality. Although it is very plausible that gum infection can cause atherosclerosis, it is possible that there other things (socioeconomic factors, the foods we eat, etc.) that can cause both problems.
It makes sense to keep your gums and teeth healthy. It may help prevent atherosclerosis. But don't forget to eat well, exercise, keep your blood pressure, blood sugars, and cholesterol at good levels, and stay far away from cigarettes.