Oral Bacteria Could Produce Heart Disease

There’s a newly discovered correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

Gum disease and heart disease are caused by the same bacteria, according to a University of Florida study. The study was reported at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting.

The researchers came to their conclusion based on studying mice. When oral bacteria were placed into their bloodstream, the risk factors for atherosclerotic heart disease increased.

Heart disease is the top cause of death in North America. Gum disease impacts nearly half of Americans and results from bacteria that grow on the teeth under the gums.

Gum disease, however, isn’t considered a traditional risk factor for heart disease. In 2012, the American Heart Association acknowledged a correlation between gum disease and heart disease but not causal association.

To come to the conclusion it did, the research team infected mice with four types of bacteria. There was relationship involving gum disease and risk factors for heart disease after the mice were infected. Some of the issues they encountered were higher cholesterol and inflammation, which are generally associated with heart disease.

This study is part of comprehensive study on gum disease and the way it impacts overall health. It’s important for all people—specifically people in the medical field—to understand that oral health affects overall health.