The idea that bad gums lead to a bad heart has lost its bite.
It is true that bacteria from infected gums can get into the bloodstream. For a long time, doctors suspected that circulating bacteria might lead to problems throughout the cardiovascular system, including hardening of the arteries.
But after pouring through hundreds of studies based on that suspicion, a team of experts - including dentists and cardiologists - found no evidence it's true.
"We're all on the committee convinced that there's no causal link at this point in terms of the science," said Peter Lockhart, D.D.S - Carolinas Healthcare System
The American Heart Association is now saying that the link between poor gums and poor heart health seems to be circumstantial. Both are related to diabetes, smoking and an unhealthy diet.
"I think this should be the final word," said David Frid, M.D. - Cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic
While no one thinks oral hygiene should be ignored, this new development will likely change prevention strategies when it comes to heart disease.
""We're seeing a lot of heart disease in younger people and that's because we've taken our focus away from the traditional factors of uh, activity, weight, uh, diet, smoking,” said Dr. Frid.
Quitting smoking, committing to exercise and consuming a healthy diet will help both your teeth and your heart.