Over the past few years there has been considerable hype about the correlation between gum health and heart disease. Many scientific studies have shown significant correlations, but not everyone is convinced.
In 2016 a Swedish study examined 805 patients under the age of 75 who had suffered their first acute myocardial infarction (AMI), also known as a heart attack. The study also examined 805 matched controls who had no history of heart problems. Gum disease was more common in patients who had had a heart attack than in the control group. In fact, the study concluded that there was a 49 per cent increased risk of AMI among the patients with periodontitis (gum disease). Even after the researchers made adjustments for other variables, such as smoking, the risk remained significantly higher (29 per cent).
While statistics like these may have you heading straight to your dentist in the hope of fixing your heart, it’s not as simple as that. In 2017, Chinese researchers looked at 22 research studies into the link between gum disease and heart disease. Across the 22 studies, results from a total of 129,630 participants were analysed. While the research showed gum disease is associated with an increased risk of future heart disease, a causative relationship between the two could not be established.