Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. People who have periodontal disease have a pathway through which oral bacteria can enter their bodies: through infected gums. Bacterial plaque in our arteries increases the risk of heart disease by contributing to systemic inflammation, clot formation and narrowing of our coronary arteries (heart blood vessels).
Studies have pointed to an association between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study, people diagnosed with a shortage of oxygen to the brain (acute cerebrovascular ischemia) were found more likely to have an oral infection. The treatment and prevention of periodontal disease is an important factor in controlling and preventing both heart disease and stroke.