Gum Disease: No Link to Heart Disease
The long-held belief that periodontal disease can lead to hardening of the arteries has been challenged by a recent review of literature, according to a statement fromthe American Heart Association. MedPage Today reported that the AMA release revealed that although the two conditions are linked by common risk factors there is no "convincing evidence for a causal relationship." The statement was endorsed by the American Dental Association and World Heart Federation.
"Patients and providers are increasingly presented with claims that periodontal disease treatment strategies offer atherosclerotic vascular disease protection; these claims are often endorsed by professional and industrial stakeholders," Peter B. Lockhart, DDS and colleagues wrote, warning that such assertions "are unwarranted."
Lockhart's team concluded that a large, long-term study would be necessary to prove that good oral hygiene and dental treatment cut down on cardiovascular risk, "given the possibility of periodontal disease recurrence after therapy and the extended time course of evolution of atherosclerotic vascular disease and its manifestations."
Even so, MedPage Today notes that in an email to reporters, Ronald Burakoff, MDM, MPH, chair of dental medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, cautioned that lack of a causative relationship to heart disease isn't a license to neglect oral health. Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agrees.
"Managing inflammatory issues, such as chronic gum disease, is part of a heart healthy lifestyle," she told MedPage Today.