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Well over half of US adults have gum disease, and though bleeding is one indicator, it is likely a majority of people don’t know of their disease.1,2 It’s a “silent epidemic”, and has significant effects on your systemic health!3

At Teuscher Dental, Our Mission is To Serve you. That means providing you with the best wholistic care available today, always research based and in pursuit of excellence. This post gives a little information on how gum disease relates to Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more!

Heart Disease:

Cardiovascular (CV) disease, more commonly referred to as heart disease, is the leading cause of death in the US. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the biggest risk factor for developing Cardiovascular disease (and your blood pressure is something our office checks at every dental exam).  Heart Disease is also highly correlated with gum disease. In fact, a comprehensive study indicated that people with periodontitis are 66% more likely to have a cerebrovascular event like a stroke, and OVER TWO TIMES as likely for those events to be fatal compared with people without gum disease.4

Healthy teeth contribute to a healthy heart!

Why does gum disease make cardiovascular disease more dangerous? Research is ongoing, but we know cardiovascular disease can result from increased blood vessel inflammation, which can, in part, be caused by gum disease pathogens.5 Products and toxins from these bacteria also can cause changes in lipid (fat) metabolism, further contributing to CV disease risk.6 When someone already has a form of CV disease, periodontal pathogens preferentially infect atherosclerotic plaques, and studies show that when this infection occurs, multiple species of periodontal pathogens are often present.7,8




Know anyone who is pregnant? Pregnant patients with gum disease are up to TEN TIMES more likely to have gestation fewer than 28 weeks, that is, a pre-term birth, according to a comprehensive study. The same study suggests that even mild periodontal disease potentially increases pre-term birth risk by over 300%.9  Gum disease also significantly contributes to low-weight births and in-utero infections.10,11 This association and risk is well documented. The good news is that the risk for pre-term and and low weight births is significantly lower for moms who receive dental therapy for gum disease.12 It should be noted that due to hormonal changes, pregnancy gingivitis is normal. But if you are thinking of becoming pregnant, a great way to decrease risk to your baby is to get screened for gum disease beforehand.

We do limit elective dental treatment during pregnancy, but often the risk to the baby (and mom) is actually greater with no treatment, especially if active dental or gum disease is present. If you are interested, the American Pregnancy Association has guidelines for receiving dental treatment during pregnancy. As always, at Teuscher Dental our top priority is your health and that of your growing baby. We will never push you into treatment that is unnecessary or risky. If you have any questions about your dental health during pregnancy, just give us a call!

In our next post we will discuss how gum disease relates to diabetes and oral cancer. If you missed last week’s post about gum disease basics, check it out here.



1) American Academy of Periodontology. “CDC: Half of American Adults Have Periodontal Disease.” CDC: Half of American Adults Have Periodontal Disease | Perio.org, 4 Sept. 2012, www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm.

2) “Patients.” ADA Health Policy Institute FAQ – Dental Patients in the U.S., www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients.

3) “Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/surgeon-general.

4) Bahekar, Amol Ashok, et al. “The Prevalence and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease Is Significantly Increased in Periodontitis: a Meta-Analysis.” American Heart Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17967586.

5) Slocum, Connie, et al. “Distinct Lipid A Moieties Contribute to Pathogen-Induced Site-Specific Vascular Inflammation.” PLOS Pathogens, Public Library of Science, journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1004215.

6) Hardardottir, I., et al. “Effects of Endotoxin on Lipid Metabolism .” Effects of Endotoxin on Lipid Metabolism , pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a2c1/9025573414d20d3cb2ffbe491493075834ec.pdf.

7) Chiu, B. “Multiple Infections in Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaques.” American Heart Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 1999, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10539867.

8) Haraszthy, V I, et al. “Identification of Periodontal Pathogens in Atheromatous Plaques.” Journal of Periodontology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2000, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11063387.

9) Offenbacher, S, et al. “Maternal Periodontitis and Prematurity. Part I: Obstetric Outcome of Prematurity and Growth Restriction.” Annals of Periodontology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11887460.

10) Sánchez, Andrés R, et al. “Maternal Chronic Infection as a Risk Factor in Preterm Low Birth Weight Infants: the Link with Periodontal Infection.” Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15368875.

11) Madianos, P N, et al. “Maternal Periodontitis and Prematurity. Part II: Maternal Infection and Fetal Exposure.” Annals of Periodontology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11887461.

12) Kim, Arthur J, et al. “Scaling and Root Planing Treatment for Periodontitis to Reduce Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Periodontology, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK), Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22376207.