Gum disease and Heart disease

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Gum Disease has been known to contribute to heart disease or process called atherosclerosis which can lead to coronary artery disease or a stroke. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease (gum disease) are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.

Well new scientific statement from the American Heart Association has released a statement on April 19, 2012 saying that although observational studies support this association between gum disease and heart disease they do not support a causative relationship. Well the American Dental Association also agrees with this statement.

The issue according to the statement is nothing really to stress about. They reviewed the literature in this field and were not able to find any real scientific evidence that gum disease causes heart disease or that treating periodontal/gum disease has any long term effect on heart disease.

The message from the lead author from the statement, Dr. Lockhart,  is that good oral hygiene is important, however patients should not be distracted by periodontal disease in trying to lower their rates of a heart attack or stroke.

I think what they are trying to say is that it is not a major risk factor like high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and abnormal cholesterol. It is more important to focus on these major risk factors to heart disease versus treating and focusing on mouth health.

The authors in the statement concluded that the association between gum disease and heart disease comes mostly from observational studies and therefore dose not demonstrate that gum disease is the cause of heart disease.

There are some key factors to consider in that yes gum disease interventions results in a reduction in inflammation and endothelial (inner lining of the artery) dysfunction the researchers concluded that there is no evidence that they prevent atherosclerosis heart disease.

While leading researchers have now put some cold water on this topic of gum disease and heart disease, I still feel that it is important to have a healthy mouth with simple strategies such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing and using a mouth rinse. Gum disease is an inflammatory disease and so is heart disease. So when you can minimize inflammation in your body it will help! Remember that 90% of all illness starts in your digestive system and having good oral hygiene will help minimize inflammation elsewhere in your body.

To your success,

Diamond Fernandes

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