Recently, researchers examined 20 patients suffering from periodontal disease and atherosclerosis (clogging of the blood vessels to the heart that can eventually result in heart failure). In 13 of the 20 patients, they found that periodontal bacteria was present in the atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary vessels.
Of the 20 patients examined, those with the more highly progressed and severe periodontal disease was the most likely to have periodontal bacteria in these vessels. This supports the possibility that as the periodontal disease progresses deeper into the gum tissue, bacteria begins to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
There is a known link between periodontal bacteria and heart disease. Therefore, periodontal disease is no longer considered an exclusively dental/oral problem.