Ask the Cardiologist: What is periodontal disease?

MalinskiDr. Maciej Malinski is on the medical staff at Sherman Hospital. He has been kind enough to answer some frequently asked questions related to maintaining a healthy heart. Look for additional heart information from Dr. Malinski in the coming weeks.

Q: What is periodontal disease? Is it related to the gums? Can it affect my heart?

Yes, periodontal disease (P.D.) is essentially a disease of the gums. Periodontitis is an infection of tooth-supporting tissues (gums), which is highly prevalent today. Studies have shown that P.D. is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and several other systemic diseases. Chronic periodontitis is thought to have an important systemic impact.

Periodontitis is associated with increased risk of systemic diseases driven by a persistent low-grade systemic inflammation. Current evidence suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased likelihood of coronary heart disease (narrowing of the arterial vessels in the heart causing angina or heart attacks), and may influence the severity of diabetes. Intensive periodontal treatment reduces systemic inflammatory markers. Systolic blood pressure improves lipid profiles with subsequent changes in cardiovascular risk when compared to standard therapy.

Health education to encourage better oral health should be considered as part of current healthy lifestyle messages designed to reduce the increasing health burden of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Do you have a question for Dr. Malinski? To submit your question, either post it in the comments section below or email with the subject line “Question for Dr. Malinski.” For more information on heart health, click here to visit Sherman’s Heart and Vascular Center.

This post is published by Sherman Health to provide general health information. It is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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4 Responses to Ask the Cardiologist: What is periodontal disease?

  1. Ron says:

    Does it make sense that my cardiologist never even asked me if I have periodontal disease in making a decision to do a cardiac cath and insert a stent?

  2. Thanks for the question, Ron! Dr. Malinski tackled this one recently. It’s called “Ask the Cardiologist: Will my Periodontal Disease alter my Coronary Angiogram in any way?” Check it out!

  3. Andrew says:

    I need to get off of 180 MG Extended release Diltiazem. I used it for angina (not for blood pressure) and have been on it for two years. What is the safest way to stop taking this? Take it every other day? Just stop when pills run out? I only have about 14 pills left.

  4. Andrew,

    Thanks for writing in! As you’ll see in the final paragraph in this post, we cannot provide personal medical advice on this blog. That input should be obtained directly from your physician.

    If you’d like to go through us to get your answer, you can visit our Physician Finder (link provided below) or call our Physician Referral line at (800) 397-9000. Let us know if you have any additional questions.

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