Diseases of the heart and blood vessels

Recent scientific studies have established a clear relationship between chronic infections such as can be found in the teeth, gums and jaw bones with cardio-vascular diseases including atherosclerosis ( hardening of the arteries ), strokes, heart attacks and ischaemia ( disruption in blood flow due to obstructions such as blood clots ).

Several theories exist to explain the link between oral infections and heart and blood vessels disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.

Another possibility is that the inflammation caused by oral infections increases plaque build up, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries.

Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without gum disease.

Scientific articles such as this one explain the relationship.

Oral infections can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Antibiotics may be required prior to dental procedures. Your own situation will be assessed by Dr. Jacques Imbeau at the time of your initial consultation.

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