Couple playing aroundHeart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with 600,000 deaths attributed to heart attacks and strokes.  There are several ways to prevent heart disease through the use of prescription medications, healthy diets, and regular exercise.

But did you know that a number of different studies have indicated gum disease can actually lower a person’s propensity for gum disease. While the jury is still out on whether or not gum disease leads to heart disease. There is no denying that the two correlate with one another and are without a doubt linked in some way.

According the American Academy of Periodontology, individuals who suffer from periodontal disease are more than twice as likely to have a coronary artery disease or heart disease. The biggest problem when identifying causation over correlation is that warning signs for both diseases are very similar.

For example, people who indulge in a large amount of sugary soda are at risk for both diseases but for different reasons. Soda eats away at teeth causing tooth decay and also clogs people’s arteries.  In a recent study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 657 people, without known heart disease, were tested.

Researchers found that individuals who had more disease causing bacteria in their mouth were more likely to have atherosclerosis in the carotid artery in the neck. If these carotid arteries are clogged then patients are at high risk for a stroke. Atherosclerosis is basically the hardening of the arteries with deposits of fats and other substances in the body.

So is heart disease linked to gum disease? Yes and no. Gum disease does not cause heart disease but the too share many similarities.