Gum disease bacteria may cause heart disease
The same bacteria that cause gum disease also promotes heart disease, research reveals.
The discovery could change the way heart disease is diagnosed and treated.
This study was part of a larger study on the effects of gum disease on overall health being conducted by Kesavalu Lakshmyya at University of Florida's department of periodontology.
"The mouth is the gateway to the body and our data provides one more piece of a growing body of research that points to direct connections between oral health and systemic health," Kesavalu added.
The researchers infected mice with four specific bacteria that cause gum disease and tracked their spread.
Once the bacteria were detected in the mouse gums, heart and aorta, researchers saw an increase in risk factors, including cholesterol and inflammation, associated with heart disease.
"Understanding the importance of treating gum disease in patients with heart disease will lead to future studies and recommendations for careful attention to oral health in order to protect patients against heart disease," said cardiologist Alexandra Lucas, a co-investigator.
The researchers reported their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology recently.
(Posted on 19-05-2014)