An expert review of 537 studies on periodontal disease and risk of heart attack or stroke has overturned the popular belief that healthy gums contribute to a healthy heart. A link between oral health and cardiovascular disease has been proposed for more than a century, noted an accompanying scientific statement from the American Heart Association, endorsed by the American Dental Association and World Heart Federation. But despite many observational studies finding that people with periodontal disease often also suffer from atherosclerosis, the experts found no evidence of cause and effect. Rather, both conditions share common risk factors, such as tobacco use, diabetes and age.
TO LEARN MORE: Circulation, online first, dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0b013e31825719f3.