Heart Attacks Caused by Gum Diseases- Myth Busted

A popular belief held by heath care practitioners that links gum diseases to heart attacks is flawed. On Wednesday, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a “scientific statement’ saying that gum disease has not been shown to cause heart disease.

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

The statement comes after an extensive reviewing of more than 500 journal articles and studies on the subject by experts.

“There is a lot of confusion and misinformation, with many is dentistry and cardiology developing strong opinion that there was a connection,” said Peter Lockhart, professor and chair of oral medicine at the Carolinas medical Centre in Charlotte, N.C., who co-chaired the expert panel.” That’s a distortion of the facts. The scientific evidence points in the other direction.

A lot of studies in the past have discussed the existence of a link between ‘atherosclerosis and periodontal disease’.

Like the studies published here and here and here.

There are theories that link gum diseases to diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, stillbirth and even Alzheimer’s (WebMed)

Wait, experts haven’t asked you to stop taking care of your gums.

“Having infected gums on a daily basis can’t be healthy. It just, at this point, hasn’t been shown to cause disease [throughout the body],” Lockhart says.

“I wouldn’t want people distracted nor needlessly upset by the fact that if they couldn’t get dental case or it wasn’t working that it was going to have a negative impact on their overall cardiovascular situation,” he says.

In the statement the authors write that ‘statements that imply a cause and effect relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, or claim that the dental treatment may prevent heart attack or stroke are “ unwarranted” at this time’.


“I think it’s a bit dangerous,” says Suzanne Steinbaum ,MD., a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.” What they’re really saying is that maybe it wasn’t that poor dental hygiene is associated with heart disease; it’s more that the risk factors are similar, and therefore we are seeing a connection.”

“We have to be careful,” says Kenneth S. Korman, DDS, PhD, editor of the Journal of Periodontology, says.” We don’t want to say to the public, [gum disease] doesn’t cause heart disease. The fact is that we don’t know. “[WebMed]

“The Academy agrees that science doesn’t support a causal relationship between periodontal diseases as a direct cause of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Pamela McClain, president of American Academy of Periodontology. [in a report posted on i village]

The myth

The reason many associate gum diseases with heart attacks is that both of these conditions have a common biomarker ‘the C - reactive protein ‘. The rise in the levels of this protein indicates inflammation. There are common factors for both the diseases like smoking, age and diabetes which mean that if you have either of these factors (or all) then your chance of having a heart-attack or gum problem increases. But, whether gum problems cause heart diseases is what the experts dismiss as a myth.