Gum disease bacteria may cause heart disease. This could change the approach that cardiovascular disease is diagnosed and treated. Although doctors know that patients with gum disease are at a greater risk for heart disease, gum disease is not considered a traditional risk factor for heart disease.
In a recent study, researchers infected mice with four bacteria that cause gum disease and tracked their spread. Once the bacteria were identified in the gum of mice, heart and aorta, scientists saw an increase in risk factors, including cholesterol and inflammation, associated with heart disease.
It is important to pay careful attention to oral health in order to protect patients against heart disease.
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