American Heart Association Retreats From Link Between Gum and Heart Disease

After decades of advice to brush and floss regularly as a way to combat heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association has now retreated. In a statement issued in April of 2012 they revealed a conclusion that gum disease has not been shown to raise the risk of cardiovascular illness. The statement also added treating gum disease either with professional attention or regular oral care such as brushing and flossing has not been conclusively proven to reduce the risk of either heart disease or stroke.

An AHA research team spent three years analyzing over 500 studies to find a link between oral care and heart health. The team was comprised of cardiologists, dentists and infectious disease specialists and after careful study of journal articles and research studies they could not find a causative link.

The conclusion was also endorsed by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs.

Gum disease and cardiovascular disease can both produce markers of inflammation and share some common risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes and this could explain why both diseases can appear together but there is no substantive link between them. These common factors were not accounted for in the most common studies linking gum disease and heart risks.

This is certainly not to say that proper brushing and flossing of your teeth aren’t important as they certainly are. Even without the association of heart disease and stroke there are still many health problems that can be caused by neglecting your teeth and gums. Tooth decay, gingivitis and plain old bad breath are just three reasons to brush and floss at least twice daily.

Caring for your teeth is not only important to keep that strong, healthy smile it’s essential if you want to keep that smile for a lifetime. Wagner Oral Surgery can extract those teeth if they become a problem. But frankly, we’d rather you brush regularly, floss dependably and stay healthy!

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