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BDHF: Some links between gum and heart disease

21st March 2007

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has said there are links between gum disease and heart disease.

The BDHF is an independent UK-based dental health charity.

When asked about health risks associated with gum disease, Karen Coates, spokesperson for the BDHF, said "there have been some links between gum disease ands heart disease".

The link is most evident in men over 40 suffering from gum disease, who are 3.6 times more likely to have heart disease, the charity reports.

This highlights the importance of dental care which many in the UK do not receive.

Ms Coates spoke about people missing out on NHS information on dental hygiene: "There are always going to be a certain section of the population who are never going to the dentist regularly. This could be improved upon."

There are two types of gum disease, the first is gingivitis which can be cured if caught. The second is periodontal disease which is incurable but manageable.

There are factors which can increase the risk of gum disease, Ms Coates explained.

"Smoking will mask the symptoms and effects of the disease because it reduces oxygen and therefore smokers will suffer more."

Those with a low immune system and pregnant women are also more prone to gum disease.

"However," Ms Coates continued, "if you have no plaque on your teeth you will never develop gum disease."