Gum disease may foretell heart disease

Next time you go to the dentist, ask her about your heart.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have found that people who’ve had periodontal (gum) disease are at higher risk for heart disease.

The study, just published online in The American Journal of Cardiology, found one in four people who don’t have typical symptoms for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity issues, do have gum disease.

They also have higher levels of an inflammatory marker that has been linked to plaque in the arteries and valves of the heart.

The scientists are quick to point out that bad oral hygiene hasn’t been proven to cause heart disease.

But they believe that regular dental checkups may be a new, critical component in identifying people at risk for cardio problems.

Given that seven out of 10 Canadians will develop gum disease, we better get brushing.