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People with gum disease—which affects up to 50 percent of American adults—are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems.
As a result, doctors who treat gum disease and doctors who treat heart disease are teaming up with a message: dealing with one can help people avoid the other. Recently, a major heart journal and a major periodontal journal simultaneously published a consensus paper that outlines the link between the two diseases (inflammation) and urges both types of doctors to look at the body as a whole rather than a set of unrelated parts.
“The theory is if you have a certain amount of inflammation, something is going to break down somewhere [whether it’s your heart, your gums or something else],” says David Cochran, D.D.S., past president of the American Academy of Periodontology and a professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.
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