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Q: What does gum disease have to do with cardiovascular health?

Posted February 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Treating gum disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gums, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — disease of the heart and the body’s arterial system. The most common types of cardiovascular disease are stroke, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, which includes heart attack and chest pain known as angina pectoris, and heart failure.

Research has shown that periodontal disease increases the risk of developing the blood clots that can lead to heart attack and stroke. The danger with gum disease is that the oral bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. Endocarditis, for example, is the name of a potentially fatal infection that occurs in the vessels of the heart.

Gum disease has also been linked to diabetes. Researchers have found that blood-sugar levels in diabetics with gum disease were lowered when the gum disease was treated. A study also found that women who suffered from moderate to severe gum disease were twice as likely to give birth prematurely. Keep your gums healthy by brushing and flossing daily and by visiting your dentist regularly.

Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave.,     256-9000.

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