Studies Do Not Show Causal Relationship Between Tooth Loss, Poor Cardiovascular Health; More Research Needed

In a report of The American Dental Association (10/21/15) … ” although some news stories claim “to demonstrate an association between periodontal disease and one or more forms of cardiovascular disease,” both “periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are complex conditions that share common risk factors.” The article reports that while a recent doctoral thesis “presents evidence that tooth loss and adverse cardiovascular health are associated with each other,” the “study does not demonstrate that tooth loss causes poor cardiovascular health, nor that periodontal treatment improves cardiovascular health.” The current position of the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association “is that while periodontal disease and heart health have an association, additional research is needed to establish whether one causes the other,” the article adds.”

This can be extremely confusing to most anyone because of the wording.

“Causing” means that there is a direct relationship between two occurrences. “Associated” means that the conditions exist oftentimes together, but their exact relationship is still unclear – which is what the report meant.

From a clinical perspective of nearly 30 years of private practice, I often see this association. I want to encourage everyone to have the best dental health possible, as my intuition tells me we will indeed some day see a causal relationship of some sort, most likely between that of gum disease causing certain heart conditions.