Review Shows Gum Disease Does Not Cause Heart Disease

Common risk factors for atherosclerotic vascular, periodontal diseases; but no causal relationship

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Periodontal disease (PD) and atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD) share common risk factors, but there is no evidence for a causal relationship between the two, nor evidence that treating PD prevents or alters the outcomes of ASVD, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) published online April 18 in Circulation.

Noting that PD and ASVD share several common risk factors, including cigarette smoking, age, and diabetes, Peter B. Lockhart, D.D.S., on behalf of the AHA's Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease, and colleagues conducted a literature review of more than 500 articles to assess the evidence for an association or causality between PD and ASVD.

The researchers found that, based on observational studies, PD was associated with ASVD, independent of known confounders; however, there was not a causative relationship. In short-term studies, periodontal interventions reduced systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, but there was no evidence that therapeutic gum interventions prevented ASVD or altered the outcomes of ASVD.

"This review highlights significant gaps in our scientific understanding of the interaction of oral health and ASVD," the authors write. "Statements that imply a causative association between PD and specific ASVD events or claim that therapeutic interventions may be useful on the basis of that assumption are unwarranted."

One member of the writing group provides expert testimony in pediatric cardiology topics; two members disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry; and one member disclosed ties to UpToDate Inc.

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