Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Real Connection Between Oral Health And Heart Disease

Date:
January 25, 1999
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
Reports over the past five years have suggested a link between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease. But so far, no clear cause-and-effect relationship has been found. In a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, University of Michigan dentistry Prof. Walter Loesche suggested several possibilities.

ANAHEIM, Calif.---Reports over the past five years have suggested a link between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease. But so far, no clear cause-and-effect relationship has been found. In a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, University of Michigan dentistry Prof. Walter Loesche suggested several possibilities. Loesche spoke during a symposium titled "The Link Between Systemic Conditions and Diseases and Oral Health."

Because evidence of the link has come to light only recently, few studies have looked directly at the mechanisms by which periodontal disease might contribute to cardiovascular disease. But by reviewing the literature on both types of disease, Loesche has found intriguing connections that suggest possible mechanisms:

Blood vessels damaged by periodontal bacteria or their products. One possibility is that bacteria from the mouth---or products released by these bacteria---travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, where they damage the linings of blood vessels. In his own research, Loesche has found that patients with coronary artery disease have elevated levels of certain periodontal bacteria. These bacteria contain lipopolysaccharides, toxins that can cause illness when released into the body.

Other lines of research suggest that lipopolysaccharides may damage the cells that line blood vessels, as measured by the release of a substance called von Willebrand factor. Researchers have found that levels of von Willebrand factor are elevated in people with periodontal disease. This observation suggests that lipopolysaccharides produced by periodontal bacteria might travel through the bloodstream to blood vessel walls, where they cause damage.

A similar relationship appears to exist with a group of proteins called acute phase response proteins. Levels of these proteins increase in the bloodstream in response to chronic infection, injuries, or other physical trauma. Researchers at Harvard University have found that one of these proteins, C-reactive protein, is a good predictor of second heart attacks in cardiovascular patients. Interestingly, other studies show that patients with periodontal disease have increased levels of C-reactive protein, and that the levels drop when the periodontal disease is treated.

Researchers also have started looking for evidence of oral bacteria themselves in blood vessel linings. Using DNA probes, researchers at the State University of New York, Buffalo, have indeed found DNA from three and possibly four types of periodontal bacteria in the vessel walls. University of Michigan researchers are also finding the DNA of periodontal bacteria in atheromas (fatty deposits on blood vessel linings that are a hallmark of cardiovascular disease).

Inflammatory responses involving cytokines. When gum tissue becomes inflamed, white blood cells in the tissue respond by producing cytokines, (small, protein-like signaling molecules). If the cytokines leak into the bloodstream, they too might alter blood vessel linings in ways that make it easier for a type of white blood cell, called a monocyte, to attach to and penetrate vessel walls, said Loesche. This is the first step in the process by which fatty deposits accumulate on blood vessel walls.

Smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for both heart disease and periodontal disease, and it could serve as a link between the two, Loesche speculates. By increasing the disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, smoking may increase the odds that these bacteria or their products will get into the bloodstream. Smoking also makes blood vessel linings stickier, which might make it easier for bacteria and bacterial products to attach to vessel walls and cause damage.

Much more research is needed before researchers will know exactly how periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are related. But what's exciting, said Loesche, is that periodontal disease is both preventable and treatable. That could mean that preventing stroke and heart attack will someday be as simple as practicing good oral hygiene and treating gum infections promptly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Real Connection Between Oral Health And Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990125072719.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (1999, January 25). Real Connection Between Oral Health And Heart Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990125072719.htm
University Of Michigan. "Real Connection Between Oral Health And Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990125072719.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins