Ask a Nurse: Dental plaque & arterial plaque

Have you ever wondered what the dentist scrapes off of your teeth when you go in for your annual cleaning?

Several studies over the past few years have found some surprising results. In 2010, Cornell University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden collected samples from the mouth, gut, and arteries of 15 heart disease patients. They found that “the same types of bacteria found in arterial plaque, which causes atherosclerosis, are found in the mouth and gut.” The study also concluded, “Chryseomonas bacteria were found in all samples of atherosclerotic plaque, suggesting that the bacteria may contribute to its development.” (1)

As stated by Harvard University Medical School in 2007, several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth) have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can lead to heart attack.” (2)

This leads to the question… would antibiotics that treat this bacteria help prevent heart disease?

Ask a Nurse is sponsored by Perfect Form Center for Wellness & Anti-Aging.



For further reading:

  1. First comprehensive survey of gut, mouth and arterial bacteria finds link to heart disease, October 2010.
  2. Heart disease and oral health: role of oral bacteria in heart plaque, February 2007.

BIO: Hollie is a critical care nurse and co-creator of Perfect Form Center for Wellness & Anti-Aging. She was awarded Nurse of Year Award for Excellence on May 9, 2014 by the Polk County Organization of Nurse Executives. For more information, go to, or call Hollie at (863) 299-9111.

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