A healthy smile does not necessarily mirror a healthy heart. While there may be a link from gum disease to heart disease, there are other causes of heart disease, experts say.
The American Heart Association released a scientific statement discounting the widespread belief that untreated gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, causes heart disease or stroke, the leading cause of death in the United States.
According to U.S. News, The World Heart Federation which is an organization that globally fights heart disease non-governmentally, along with the American Dental Association's Council on Scientific Affairs, agrees with the recently released statement.
According to WebMD, after the American Heart Association reviewed more than 500 studies, and more than 60 years of research on heart and gum disease that dated back to the 1950s, experts say that although the two problems are clearly related, it is unlikely that gum disease causes heart disease.
The committee of doctors and dentists of the American Heart Association states that studies have neglected to consider common factors.
While gum disease and heart disease causes swelling in the body, according to Dr. Robert Myerburg, a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, they should be seen as two separate problems, even though they share the same risk factors such as smoking, diabetes and age.
Therefore, treating gum disease will not necessarily cure heart disease and vice versa.
It is about association, not causality.
According to WebMd, the released statement is meant to clear up confusion associated with gum disease and its link to heart disease so that people will focus on more established risk factors of heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
However, though there is no exact proof that gum disease is the cause of heart disease, either disease should not be neglected and should be treated accordingly.