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The Dangerous Connection: How Tooth Infections Can Lead to Heart Attack and Stroke

Recent studies have now been able to prove a direct link between the bacteria from tooth infections and cardiovascular and stroke diseases.


Researchers have investigated the link between Endodontic disease (infections in the root canal) and cardiovascular health for many years and new evidence is conclusive…



Recent Studies


Dr. Dan Sebring (et all) in their study – Endodontic inflammatory disease: A risk indicator for a first myocardial infarction, established a link between Endodontic disease and a first Myocardial Infarction (MI – heart attack). The study consisted of 805 patients with recent experience of a first heart attack and a similar number of control patients. The Endodontic inflammatory disease was assessed radiographically.


Patients, it was found, who had suffered a first heart attack had higher tooth infections, that is, decayed, missing, and filled teeth, than the healthy control patients. The results concluded that more missing teeth were independently associated with an increased risk of a first heart attack. In addition, the study found that “Endodontic inflammatory disease may contribute as an independent risk factor to cardiovascular disease since untreated caries, periapical lesions, and root fillings, depending on age, were significantly associated with a first MI.”


Inflammation of the arteries is a common factor in all cardiovascular diseases. That is, heart attacks and strokes occur when diseased, plaque-filled arteries become so inflamed that the artery wall is breached. This leads to a clot that obstructs the flow of blood to the heart or brain.


Dr. Tanja Pessi and colleagues in their recent study of 101 patients suffering a heart attack, found approximately 78.2% of clots that lead to heart attack contained oral bacteria from tooth infections. Further, 50% of patients had infected teeth. These results suggest that up to 50% of heart attacks may be triggered by tooth infections. (See Pessi T V, Karjalainen PP, et al Bacterial signatures in thrombosis aspirates of patients with myocardial infarction).


As these studies and the associated findings become mainstream it is hoped that patients will understand that good dentistry treatment is a cornerstone in maintaining overall general health.



Prevention is better than cure


The crucial takeaway from these studies is to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, it is imperative to ensure the health of your teeth by following good oral hygiene practices.


It is vitally important to ensure that any pain in the tooth or swelling near the tooth, is investigated by your dentist to ensure that it is not the result of an infection within the root canal.


If you do suspect a root canal infection, or if you have suffered a heart attack or stroke, then call us promptly to make an appointment to see our Endodontic specialist – Dr George Billis. Dr. Billis specialises in Root Canal Treatments (RCT) and his expertise, combined with his surgery’s complex technical equipment, means he can properly diagnose Endodontic disease. Many dentists in the South East refer patients who require complex RCT procedures to Dr. Billis and his associates.


Dr Billis commented ‘As a practicing dentist for more than 30 years, I have always believed that a healthy mouth corresponds to a patient's overall health. I am not surprised that the latest scientific research proves this to be true.’


If you would like to find out more, please call our practice or click here to be taken to Dr Billis' dedicated Endodontic website.


As we always say at Gateway Dental, to maintain overall teeth and gum health, we recommend brushing and flossing twice a day. Also, reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will significantly reduce the amount of plaque buildup on your teeth and the danger of cavities that lead to tooth infections.


It is also of vital importance to have regular dental checkups and visits to your hygienist so any potential problems can be diagnosed early and properly treated.


Prevention is always better than the cure.


So, make an appointment now!

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