Over the past 20 years, scientists have been discovering more ways in which a person's oral health is related to a person's general health. Along with heart disease, poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, low birth weight pre-term babies, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's, among other diseases.
When a person has gum disease, the body reacts to mouth bacteria with swelling. Gum disease is an inflammatory disease, as can be heart disease. This swelling response results in inflammation in the blood vessels lining the heart which contributes to fatty deposit build-up inside the heart's arteries. Research shows these bacteria travel through the bloodstream and into the heart.
Periodontal treatment can reduce the body's inflammatory response and provide protection from other health issues, including those of the heart. Oral antibiotics, or those targeted at the problem areas, combined with deep dental cleanings have shown success in controlling gum disease bacteria.