The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Heart Failure

By: Kevin Henry

A new study has given dental professionals yet another reason to talk to their patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health in order to maintain and even improve their overall health.

This study was released at the start of July in one of the Journals of the American College of Cardiology and discusses the impact of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, on heart failure.

While the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease has been discussed before, this is the first study that pieces together how an unhealthy mouth can lead to heart failure.

Study on How an Unhealthy Mouth can Lead to Heart Failure

More than 6,700 patients were examined as a part of this groundbreaking study.

Of this group, 1,178 heart failure cases occurred and periodontal disease was confirmed as causing “an increased risk” for heart failure in those cases.

Additionally, as an interesting side note, 18% of the 1,178 heart failure cases were edentulous (people with a lack of teeth).

Researchers pointed to edentulism as “associated with unfavorable change” in several key areas, leading researchers to question how patients without teeth could still have periodontal disease that could ultimately impact their hearts.

In-depth Discussion of Periodontal Disease and Heart Failure

Tom Viola, RPh, known as a dental pharmacology expert, discussed this study in detail on a recent episode of the Dental Assistant Nation podcast, which is powered by IgniteDA.

You can listen to the episode here, as I, the host of Dental Assistant Nation, go in-depth with Viola on the impact of this study and what it really means for dental professionals and their patients.

One thing is for sure, however. This study gives dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants another chance to bring up with their patients the importance of oral health and its impact on the heart and so many other parts of the body.

It’s further proof of the oral-systemic link and reinforces the relationship that should exist between the worlds of dentistry and medicine.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Kevin Henry

Kevin Henry

With more than 20 years in the dental publishing industry, Kevin Henry is the former group editorial director for Dental Products Report, managing editor for Dental Economics, and editor-in-chief for He now serves as the co-founder for IgniteDA, a community designed to empower, enlighten, and educate dental assistants, and as director of marketing for Fortune Management. He has spoken to dental assistants throughout the world, in person and through the Dental Assistant Nation podcast series, reminding them of the important role they play every day in their practice. He is also certified as a DiSC trainer, helping dental practices learn how to understand each other better through personality assessments and training.