A study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation claims that it is a myth that gum disease can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
The research was carried out by a panel of 13 experts, who reviewed 500 different journal articles on the links between gum and cardiovascular disease, and concluded that there is no evidence for a causal link between bad gums and heart or artery problems.
They also believe that the myth creates concern among patients and doesn’t help with treatment or prevention, as professor Peter Lockhart, co-chair of the expert panel and chair of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Centre in Charlotte, New Carolina, explained.
“There’s a lot of confusion out there,” he said.
“The message sent out by some in healthcare professions that heart attack and stroke are directly linked to gum disease can distort the facts, alarm patients and perhaps shift the focus on prevention away from well-known risk factors for these diseases.”
The expert panel did concede that those with gum disease may be at greater risk of artery or heart disease but insisted that the association is probably coincidental because smoking, age and diabetes can put people at greater risk of contracting both and both have similar inflammation markers.