Educating the South End of Boston on Oral Health

And?The Link with Cardiovascular Disease


According to the American Dental Association (ADA) a definite association exists between periodontal disease (gum disease) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Many studies and medical professional have tried to disprove this is recent years. However, the ADA stands strong behind their findings and their own research.

Since 1989 there have been documented studies connecting oral hygiene to cardiovascular disease. Often the same causes link poor oral hygiene with CVD. For this reason many people say there is not a true connection, they are just both caused by similar behavior. These linking factors include age, smoking status, socioeconomic status, dietary patterns, and more.

There are many studies supporting a strong link between the two, yet some dental and medical professionals say that the lifestyle of a periodontal diseased patient is very similar to that of a cardiovascular diseased patient. They may be older, they may smoke, they may not take care of their health, they may not eat properly, etc. So the connection between the diseases lies is similar causing factors, not that one causes the other. However the observation that both diseases are caused by similar factors does not disprove the association between the two, though it may open it up for argument. The strongest link between the two diseases is that the plaque in your mouth builds up over time and eventually contributes to your arterial plaque.

In the studies recognized by the ADA one showed a 400% higher risk of strokes in patients diagnosed with periodontal-disease. The studies that the ADA acknowledges use patient bases that have dentist-diagnosed patients, as opposed to other studies that have patient-diagnosed oral findings. When patients are asked if they have periodontal disease they may say, “No”, because they were never diagnosed, even though they may have it.

Overall, the majority of research, recognized by the ADA, shows a “moderate association between periodontal disease and CVD (ADA, Vol. 137 http://jada.ada.org October 2006”). My recommendation as a dentist is the same for all patients. The only way to truly prevent poor dental hygiene from effecting you cardiovascular or overall health is to continue with regular cleanings and exams and by following your dental professionals advice!

As always feel free to comment or contact us with any questions!

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