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For many years it was believed that gum disease raised your risk for developing cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke. New research suggests that this claim is false.
For nearly 20 years it has been reported that there is a definite link between gum disease and heart attack. New research suggests that this claim is false. Recently the American Heart Association issued a statement supporting this research. The truth is that the risk of developing heart disease is in no way heightened by the presence of gum disease.

The American Academy Of Periodontology suggests on it’s website that “persons diagnosed with gum disease are two times more likely to be ill with coronary artery disease”. They also added that “oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the bloodstream, which may lead to heart attacks”. The American Heart Association does not list gum disease as a risk factor for heart disease.

Flaws In Former Studies

Previous studies suggested that there was a link between the two, because they conducted observational studies upon people who had heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke, and found that they had more of an incidence of gum disease than people with healthy hearts. The problem with this data is that there are many, many factors that can lead a person to develop a heart condition and gum disease. The two are not necessarily linked.

The realization is that gum disease does not cause heart disease and what needs to be focused on is what we know does cause heart disease, factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and obesity. Those conditions need to be treated accordingly. Additionally, studies that produce negative results are rarely published, therefore the data seems to show a link when other studies that have not shown a link have not been considered.

There Is No Concrete Evidence

Many studies that suggest a link between heart disease and gum disease have not actually proven this hypothesis, therefore, there is really no concrete evidence. Those studies that have attempted to prove the theory had inconsistent results.  Some studies have found bacteria from oral conditions such as gingivitis within plaque lined arteries of subjects with gum disease and others have not.

Others still, have found more oral bacteria in the arteries of subjects with no history of gum disease.  While many studies have noted an association between the two, possibly because infection causes inflammation and inflammation is associated with hardening of the arteries, none have managed to prove that gum disease causes heart attack.

Explanation For False Statements

The American Heart Association concluded after reviewing hundreds of research studies that there were many flaws. Many of the studies were not designed well or were undersized, which led the original theory to fall apart. In addition, after in- depth reviews, many of the studies results offered only possible associations between gum disease and heart attack. No study succeeded in proving an actual cause and effect relationship between the two.

The recent scientific statement by the American Heart Association has declared that that there is no link between gum disease and heart attack. For nearly 20 years the public has been told otherwise. Many studies have been done on this link and while some offer possible associations, none has proven that gum disease causes heart attacks or strokes. Despite the American Heart Associations bold statement, people in the periodontal community suggest that gum disease is a definite risk factor for cardiovascular disease.