Scientists Continue to Explore the Connection

Columbia University recently published the results of an ongoing study looking at the link between gum disease and thickening of the arteries in the heart. Called the Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study (INVEST), the research team is led by Dr. Moise Descarieux and features dentist Dr. Panos N. Papapanou. Their tests indicate that cleaner teeth lead to cleaner arteries.

How They Made the Connection

The researchers studied thousands of subjects. Examinations of the mouth documented the presence or absence of oral bacteria in the form of plaque. The subjects were then examined via ultrasound to determine the thickness of their arterial walls. A greater level of bacteria on the teeth led to increasing thickness of the carotid arteries, the arteries that bring blood to the heart. In addition to studying patients during a single visit, the researchers also looked at the progression of arterial disease, in connection with gum disease, over time.

Explaining their findings, Dr. Papapanou, professor at Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine, stated the following:

Our results show a clear relationship between what is happening in the mouth and thickening of the carotid artery, even before the onset of full-fledged periodontal disease. This suggests that incipient periodontal disease should not be ignored.”

While the researchers don’t go so far as to say that gingivitis and periodontitis lead to heart attacks and strokes, they do acknowledge that thickening of the arteries is usually an indicator of risk for heart problems.

What is the Connection?

Why does gum disease evidently lead to atherosclerosis and likely heart disease? Human studies are ongoing, but animal studies indicate the probable cause of the connection. The presence of large amounts of oral bacteria activates the body’s immune system. Immune responses typically lead to inflammation, and inflammation generally worsens atherosclerotic arteries. Writer Catherine Paddock of Medical News Today also points to a British study that found a direct link between oral bacteria escaping the mouth to the bloodstream, creating havoc in the arteries.

A Clean Mouth Leads to Clean Arteries

Whatever the actual cause of the connection, all the scientists agree that maintaining good oral hygiene reduces your risk of thickening of the arteries. Preventing gum disease requires two simple steps:

  1. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily.
  2. Visiting your local dentist at least twice a year for an exam and cleaning.

Your local Carmichael dentist at the Marconi Dental Group is ready to help you fight oral bacteria and maintain your heart health. If you haven’t been to the dentist in the last six months, make your appointment today!

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Dr. Fischer

Dr. Fischer comes from Sandy City Utah, where he graduated from the University of Utah with a background in Medical Biology. Dr. Fischer then was awarded his DDS degree from Loma Linda University here in California. Prior to that, Dr. Fischer worked alongside his father for several years as a design engineer at his father’s dental company. Dr. Fischer has a strong passion for dentistry, he believes in providing his patients with the most modern and up-to-date procedures, and he truly enjoys the variations of procedures he gets to perform daily.

When not practicing dentistry, he can be found spending time with his family. Dr. Fischer and his wife Brittany have twins Kaitly and Kyle, and son Johnny. Outside of his professional activities, Dr. Fischer is also a true adventurist. He has travelled to many countries and enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, para gliding, camping, and hunting just to name a few.

Headshot of Dr. Y. Vinny Huang at Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Huang

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang received his Degree in Dental Surgery in his hometown of Taipei, Taiwan and then went on to receive his Masters in Science and Postgraduate Certificate in Prosthodontics from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.

He has been practicing dentistry since 1992 and his area of specialty is Prosthodontics, the treatment and handling of dental and facial problems. Prosthodontics involves the restoration of missing teeth and jaw structure. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang is also a Diplomate of the (ABP) American Board of Prosthodontics and an active member of the (CDA) California Dental Association and the (AAFP) American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and a fellow of the (ACP) American College of Prosthodontists. He is also fluent in Mandarin!

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang was fortunate enough to find his calling at a young age. He grew up watching his grandmother struggle with her dentures on many occasions and has been determined to help others just like her ever since. He is truly passionate about his work and finds great joy in creating beautiful smiles for his patients whether it be on their own or with the help of dental implants. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang makes it his personal mission to educate his patients and community on the importance of oral health and does so with honesty, professionalism and care.

When Dr. Y. Vinny Huang isn’t practicing dentistry or assisting the community, you will find him spending time with his wife and two daughters. He also enjoys being outdoors and staying active whether it be swimming, golfing or playing tennis.

Headshot of Dr. Visage of Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Visagé

Dr. Visagé graduated his dental degree from University of Pretoria in South Africa (1999). He practiced general dentistry in South Africa and England until 2002. He went on and completed a residency program in Periodontics and Oral Medicine, in South Africa to attain his Masters degree in 2006. He established a successful private specialist practice in Periodontics and Dental Implants. During that time he also served as secretary of the South African Society of Periodontology and still holds specialist registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


In 2014, Dr. Visagé and his family relocated to California, and he was invited to the prestigious Program for International Dentists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 2015, he received the OKU Dental Honour Society Dr Kramer S Award from the UCSF School of Dentistry. In 2016 he received the Dental Honour Society Membership Award and also the Award for Clinical Excellence & Mentoring (UCSF).  He obtained his American Doctorate of Dental Surgery (UCSF) in 2016.


The most enjoyable part of his work is getting to know the patients and being able to play a role in improving oral health, which contributes to quality of life. He is truly passionate about dentistry, but strikes a balance between his professional and personal lives.  He maintains his fitness through running, biking and hiking with his family. 

Dr. Visagé and his wife Karlien, have  a  daughter and a son.  When time allows, he and his family enjoys travelling and spending time together. They travel to South Africa as often as time allows, but also enjoy road trips in the USA.