April 18th, 2012

AHA: No Convincing Evidence That Periodontal Disease Causes CV Disease

Demonstrating once again that association and causation should not be confused, the American Heart Association today published a scientific statement in Circulation asserting that there is no convincing evidence showing that periodontal disease causes cardiovascular (CV) disease or that treating periodontal disease will reduce CV disease risk. The statement does not rule out the possibility that periodontal disease can cause CV disease, and even notes that a cause and effect relationship is “biologically plausible,” but it concludes that statements that claim “a causative association…   or claim that therapeutic interventions may be useful on the basis of that assumption are unwarranted.”

“There’s a lot of confusion out there,” said Peter Lockhart, co-chair of the statement writing group and professor and chair of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, in an AHA press release. “The message sent out by some in healthcare professions that heart attack and stroke are directly linked to gum disease, can distort the facts, alarm patients and perhaps shift the focus on prevention away from well known risk factors for these diseases.”

In recent years there has been an explosion of studies exploring the relationship of PD disease and CV disease, many looking at inflammation as a common factor underlying both diseases. However, sorting out the precise nature of the relationship is difficult because both diseases share common risk factors, including cigarette smoking, age, and diabetes.

Comments are closed.