The Truth About Gum Health and Heart Disease

Does flossing protect against heart disease and stroke? Find out below

by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
woman flossing image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

FALSE. Physicians have long suspected that certain oral bacteria promote heart disease and stroke, possibly by contributing to the systemic inflammation that is related to stiffening of the arteries. But a review of 537 studies, published in Circulation, says that while gum disease and cardiovascular disease often go together, gum infections have not been shown to directly cause heart trouble. What’s more, preventing and treating periodontal disease hasn’t been proved to reduce the incidence of heart attacks or stroke. 

Photo courtesy of Stephen Coburn  /Shutterstock.com

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First published in the September 2012 issue

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