Ronald L. Cooper DDS, FAGD

Many of us know that poor dental health can affect us in many ways such as diabetes, oral health and in some cases infertility and cancer. When your teeth are poorly cared for, they can trigger other health related issues. (I hope to cover those health issues in future blogs.)

Many people, though, don’t know that there is a connection with gum disease and cardiovascular (heart) disease. In a recent study published on, there were some interesting findings. In fact, dental patients with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. If they have high cholesterol, they have an even greater chance.

Approximately 800,000 people die in the US every year due to Cardiovascular Disease (CV). It is a serious problem and one in which dentists, orthodontists and cardiovascular specialists are working collaboratively to tackle.

So, how does gum disease affect the heart? It’s quite simple and rather insidious.

Bacteria is the cause agent of them both. Once the bacteria from infected gums around the teeth break down the barrier between gums and underlying tissue, inflammation occurs.

When a person with gum (periodontal) disease chews or brushes, they send diseased bacteria to other part of the circulatory system, forming the foundations of cardiovascular disease.

That bacteria inflames the cardiovascular area. Once inflamed, it is infected with plaque. This plaque narrows the arteries and leaves fatty deposits which clog the arteries. Oral bacteria sticks to fatty plaques in the bloodstream, causing blockages which then lead blood vessels to swell and increasing the risk of blood clots.

Some red flags of gum or periodontal disease are the following:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
  • Partial dentures no longer fit
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Halitosis
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus in between the gums and teeth

Here are 4 simple steps aimed to reduce and possibly prevent gum disease.

  1. Brush your teeth after meals to remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums.
  2. Floss at least once a day between teeth and along the gum line.
  3. Use mouthwash to reduce plaque and remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.
  4. Avoid smoking as it increases your risk of periodontal disease.

At Dr. Cooper & Associates, our team of dental professionals will examine your gums, teeth and other areas that are at risk of periodontal disease and then advise you on proper next steps to treat it.
Contact our offices and schedule an appointment with Ron Cooper, DDS at (202) 463-2090 or email us at


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