Two recent Swedish studies linked heart disease with poor oral health. The first study looked at the oral health of 187 women with coronary artery disease and compared them with a control group to determine the connection between cardiovascular disease and dental health. The researchers found that the heart patients had fewer remaining teeth, had a higher prevalence of periodontal pockets, and wore dentures more often.
The second study examined plasma level markers for arteriosclerosis and incidents of inflammation in 50 patients with severe periodontitis and in 46 healthy participants. Although the total cholesterol levels in the 2 groups were similar, high-density lipoprotein levels were lower and C-reactive proteins were higher in the test group. The researchers believe that the release of bacteria, bacterial products, or proinflammatory cytokines from the periodontal lesions into the bloodstream may be the connection between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease.