The American Dental Association (ADA)Council on Scientific Affairs has agreed with the conclusions of arecent report that current scientific evidence does not establish adirect cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and heartdisease or stroke. Additionally, the evidence does not establish thatgum disease increases the rate of heart disease or stroke.

The report, which examined 537 peer-reviewed studies on the subject, was published last month in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation.

According to the report, there is a body of research showing that gumdisease is associated with several health conditions such as heartdisease, stroke, and diabetes, but just because two conditions areassociated with each other does not mean that one causes the other. Forexample, both heart disease and gum disease share common risk factors,such as smoking and diabetes.

The AHA report acknowledges the value of good oral hygiene tomaintain good overall health but notes that current scientific data donot indicate whether regular brushing and flossing or treatment of gumdisease can decrease the incidence of atherosclerosis, which is thenarrowing of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs, which is made up of ADAmember dentists who are scientific experts, appointed a representativeto the AHA expert committee that developed the report. The Council thenreviewed the report and agreed with its conclusions.