P. gingivalis and heart disease

At Smiles by Shields, we believe proper oral care is part of a an overall wellness strategy aimed at keeping all of your body’s systems functioning at their highest capacity. A diet high in fat and exposure to certain bacteria can cause atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances on artery walls which can restrict blood flow), researchers have for the first time identified distinct gene pathways that are altered by these different stimuli.

Atherosclerosis is a common human disease associated with heart attack and stroke. Certain bacteria–namely Porphyromonas gingivalis, found in the mouth of humans with periodontal disease and Chlamydia pneumoniae–are known to contribute to heart disease. Researchers have now discovered genome-wide expression changes in vascular tissue after exposure to the bacteria and the high-fat diet. Whether exposed to Porphyromonas gingivalis or one of the other causal agents, it’s clear that oral bacteria and the human diet interact to result in specific gene expressions related to heart disease.

If you have questions regarding heart disease and oral health, contact Dr. Tiffany Shields and the team at Smiles by Shields today for your next appointment!


Boston University Medical Center. (2015, January 7). Genome wide expression changes in vascular tissue identified due to infection/diet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 16, 2015 from


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