For many years physicians have suggested that gum health is directly linked to heart health, however an American Heart Association study released in 2012 implies that this may not be the case.
In a statement published in the journal Circulation, a committee from the American Heart Association said that there is no evidence to indicate that heart disease is actually caused by gum disease like gingivitis.
These findings were derived from research that reviewed 500 different journal articles and studies. Committee member Dr. Peter Lockhart said, “The message sent out by some in health care professions – that heart attack and stroke are directly linked to gum disease – can distort the facts, alarm patients and perhaps shift the focus of prevention away from well-known risk factors for these diseases.” Lockhart is a professor of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.
The committee admitted that a link is biologically plausible that oral bacterial infections could cause heart disease. Bacteria from the mouth could enter the bloodstream during dental procedures and bloody gums from tooth brushing.
However, the committee ultimately concluded that the risk factors for gum disease and heart disease are largely the same. For example, cigarette smoking, age, and diabetes all play integral roles in the development of both gum disease and cardiovascular disease.
For more than a century doctors have said that infected gums means you are more susceptible to heart problems. Gum disease and heart disease also both exhibit similar side effects like inflammation like the “c-reactive protein” which would explain why physicians have made the supposed link.
Regardless of whether gum disease causes heart disease or not, gingivitis and gum disease are serious medical conditions that can lead to painful procedures and poor oral health. For tips on how to prevent gum diseases check out our article here.