Gum Disease not the cause of Heart Disease or Stroke

Teeth - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - The American Heart Association assembled a committee of cardiologists, dentists, and infectious disease specialists to investigate if gum disease causes heart disease or stroke. The committee concluded that gum disease does not cause atherosclerotic heart disease or stroke. Additionally, the treatment of gum disease has not been proven to prevent heart disease or stroke. The new statement by the committee was published in Circulation, which is an American Heart Association journal.

Current research on periodontal disease and heart disease did not provide enough conclusive scientific evidence of dental plaque causing heart disease or stroke. In addition, there was not enough evidence to prove that brushing and flossing teeth regularly would prevent atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries.

The committee reviewed around 500 journal articles that found an association between gum disease and heart disease or stroke. However, the studies failed to identify a causative link.

People that have gum disease and cardiovascular disease share a common risk factors such as cigarette smoking, age, and type 2 diabetes. Both gum disease and cardiovascular disease increase inflammation markers such as C-reactive protein. The committee pointed out that some studies showed a stronger relationship but they failed to take into account similar shared risk factors for both diseases.

Peter Lockhart, D.D.S., co-chair of the statement writing group and professor and chair of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., said that a large long-term study would need to be conducted to determine if gum disease causes heart disease. He does not believe that a study of this size would be conducted.

The committee recognizes that mouth bacteria often enters into the blood stream during dental procedures and also with brushing teeth. However, research has not proven that it causes heart disease. Therefore, even if a person improves their dental health, it does not guarantee that their heart will be protected.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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